Columnist Dr Copperfield is left speechless and exhausted after yet another referral is bounced back
You might wonder why I’m going to bang on about that old chestnut, ‘Little things that grind GPs into a state of gibbering despair’. Well, it’s because I’ve just reached what is indisputably peak micro-annoyance.
I don’t care how irritating, petty or ridiculous the requests and demands are that you receive, because I guarantee I can now out irritate, petty or ridiculous you.
Admittedly, the day had rather primed me for the moment. Indeed, the following (verbatim) ‘GP to do list’ on a discharge letter was just one example of many and suggested that I was on some kind of roll:
‘GP to kindly follow up with U&Es at four weeks.’
‘Please kindly perform a CXR in six weeks for resolution of pathology.’
‘Please kindly follow up on further investigations and outpatient review.’
‘Please kindly perform routine bloods for resolution of inflammatory markers.’
Sigh, and so familiar. It’s not so much the work as the ingratiating ‘please kindly’ that really grates. It’s like an executioner saying to you, ‘Do you mind awfully that I cut your head off?’
But this was a mere foothill compared with the summit I was about to scale, which went as follows. Rarely, for me, and somewhat in desperation, I had referred someone to an NHS chronic fatigue service. This required the usual hoop-jumping and referral proforma mandating a polyinvestogram of bloods, duly completed and appended to the referral.
No prizes for guessing what happened next, but definitely one if you can work out why. Yes, it was bounced back. Because… deep breath, relax… ’we are rejecting this referral because the investigation results have to be written in the boxes provided on the referral form, not appended as an attachment’.
You might reasonably suggest that I’ve made this up, but only someone with a truly grotesque imagination could have done so. So, yes, I might have done. But I didn’t.
My problem is, this is so beyond absurdity that I literally can’t articulate a suitable response. I don’t have the words to convey the, well I can’t. Nor the energy. Because, suddenly, I feel profoundly and pathologically tired. Exhausted with life, in fact.
Kindly check my bloods, would you? And send me the results in boxes.
Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here