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Remote consulting: a poem

Matt Hancock wants us
All to do:
Telemedicine from now.
Zoom calls, Skype or Accurx,
Complex symptoms for us to fix.

But what he doesn’t understand
Is we:
The NHS Heroes,
Have empathy,
Clinical acumen.
Of which he has
Approximately zero.

‘Can you send me a photo, Mrs Smith,
Of your lump or your funny bone?’
‘I can’t now doc,
Because, you see,
I ain’t got no mobile phone!’

Come right down to the surgery,
You know,
We are still open.
And I will find some PPE,
And hurriedly drink my lukewarm tea.

A pair of gloves,
An apron too
(Or a bin bag,
Carefully unrolled.)
Please hurry now
And don’t be late,
My cup of tea’s gone cold.

And don’t be scared, dear Mrs Smith,
This mask
Makes me look like a surgeon.
Are you sure we can keep going on like this,
First Minister,
Nicola Sturgeon?

Clinell wipes are my new best friend,
I carefully clean down my station.
And don’t forget the blood pressure cuff and the
Faces of all the patients.

What’s the plan,
Boris Johnson,
In Number 10?
This pandemic
Is driving us round the bend!

Until we have answers,
Keep washing your hands.
Wait for a vaccine,
Cancel holiday plans.

Government and U-turns
Becoming a pattern.
Doing our bit,
For the curve,
We must flatten.

Each day,
I will continue
Sitting on my behind.
It’s aching,
I tell you.
I think you will find:
I’m not doing no work,
In fact,
I do more!
Someone pick this receptionist
Up off the floor!

Dinner better be ready
When I get back home,
And the kids,
Well they better just leave me alone!

I’ll rest and recuperate.
Let me sleep please!
But not before I’ve washed my scrubs
At sixty degrees.

Dr Shyamala Srirangalingam and Dr Meera Srirangalingam are GPs in Surrey and Oxford respectively (also called the Stethoscoped Sisters)


Patrufini Duffy 7 January, 2021 2:48 pm

Duffy enjoyed it.


It’s now a warm relief
No box of tissues needed
To empathise with that panic attack
And Fit note mischief

That boozy UTI, always an emergency
But, now with no dip
We can peacefully listen and sit
And count cranberry pips
With a green tea, sip by sip

EPS is a treat
Those reactivated repeats
Thank God for decadent Daktacort
Otherwise we’d all be cut short

The sertraline and naproxen rolls on
And on
A population destined
For one GI bleed
Or more

This has been good fun
No complaining
Just remote self-care and a new world
Full of invested leaders
And impervious institutes
Who lead us closer to planned destitute

For £60,000 each
It is all a calculated bargain
An exchange for a soul
That sweet kindred peach
Who will now be far far from reach…