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'You're worth waiting for'

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I rarely feel like hugging patients, in the sense that, in 25 years, I’ve never felt like hugging a patient. Until today.

It hadn’t started well, though. ‘Sorry to keep you waiting,’ I’d said, as I’m always running about half an hour late and a pre-emptive strike is usually enough to deflate the indignant.

‘Hmmm,’ she said, ominously. ‘And I’ve waited two weeks for this appointment, too.’

Oh yeah, I forgot, I had the audacity to take some holiday, do you want me to apologise about that as well, I was on the brink of saying. Fortunately, I didn’t, because, out of a clear blue sky, she followed up with this: ‘But you’re worth waiting for’.

And that’s why I gave her a hug. Only once I’d got up from the floor, though, otherwise it would have looked unseemly/desperate.

Dr Copperfield: worth waiting for. Now that is simply too good to waste, so I’m not going to. It reminded me of the only previous time I’d come close to a similar compliment, quite a few years ago. A frequently attending, notoriously grumbly and serially dissatisfied woman had been so comprehensively berating everything about our services that I was forced to ask, if everything was so terrible, why had she bothered to come to see me. And her reply was, ‘I hear you’re a bit less sh** than all the rest’.

So, obviously, I had that embossed on my headed notepaper: ‘Dr Copperfield, a bit less sh** than all the rest’. It has served me very well over the years. But now I have, ‘Worth waiting for’, and it’s even better, because it encapsulates in just three words some very important aspects of my service. That I view my care as high quality. That you can’t access me at the drop of a hat, though, so don’t expect to. That you may have to thumb through quite a few dog-eared copies of ‘Hello’ in the waiting room until I deign to see you. But that you’ve still got reason to be grateful.

True, it makes me a bit of a hostage to fortune, but I can live with that. So that’s my new slogan. And I’m putting it in inverted commas, too, to prove that it’s not just self aggrandisement, it’s a quote and therefore must be true. Dr Tony Copperfield: ‘Worth waiting for’.

Now, is there anyone out there who’d like to buy some unused headed notepaper? You just need to be a bit less sh** than all the rest.

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

 

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Readers' comments (5)

  • nice one - good for you Doc Cops
    - anonymous salaried!!

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  • Reflective Journal. Appraisal Folder. Repeat.

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  • Well done. You remind me of my polio specialist. We know, when we make an appointment, we are going to have to wait at least an hour, but he is worth it. Most docs. think as polio is almost defunct, so must we be. And nice thing is, you meet such friendly fellow patients, also waiting patiently. As his Secretary keeps on popping out to apologise, we look up and tell her she is interrupting our interesting gossiping - so we are all happy.
    And we know, once we get in to see the specialist, we have his undivided attention until he has sorted out our problems. Worth his weight in Platinum.

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  • This should be enough for your next appraisal. Unfortunately I'm no appraiser!

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  • Oh, Tony, you're utterly magnificent. When I pay my GP compliments, he cowers under his desk and begs me to leave.

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From: Copperfield

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