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Independents' Day

What does it take to focus on patients - a power cut?

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Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat: why did I finish my Saturday morning extended hours stint with a spring in my step, aside from the fact that it was time to go home and lower myself mouth-first into a vat of Sauvignon Blanc? Particularly when that victory had been achieved despite the fact that our health centre had suffered a power cut, rendering my computer useless, the patient records inaccessible and my consulting room a black, unilluminable hole of despair?

Well, apparently, the final punter went out singing my praises – and I may be a burnt out old cynic, but it still warms my cockles when someone mentions, in passing, to reception, ‘Best doctor I’ve ever seen’ rather than the more familiar, ‘That doctor was a complete t**t and that consultation was a total waste of f****ng time, the doctors here are all s**t and you can all go and f**k  your selves you f****ng  bunch of w*****s, I’m f****ng well  off to f****ng casualty,’ which is the standard response around here when we don’t prescribe chloramphenicol eye ointment for conjunctivitis.

Naturally, I enquired whether he’d explained why I was, on the Essex scale of one to diamond geezer, veering towards the latter. And it was all about eye contact, apparently. It was a pleasure, he’d said, to meet a doctor who seemed genuinely interested in his case and treated him as a human rather than a machine. A doctor, in short – and this seemed to be the key point – who looked him in the eye rather than stared at his computer.

Ah. But then there’s not much point staring at a computer in a power cut, is there? And when the room’s pitch black, I’m bound to stare at the patient, aren’t I, if only to locate him? I feel like I should tell him. To write a review on NHS Choices, that is. Well, it would balance the f****ng comments of chloramphenicol lady.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Your blog has totally made my day!! Good work Copperfield..

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  • Dr C
    If your patients language gets any stronger perhaps you should adopt the use of cockney rhyming slang.

    Looking forward to the next blog possibly with the use of 'Jeremy Hunt' contained in it.

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder