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A sixteen-point list

Yeah, I know, patient brings list, big deal. It’s part of life at the primary care coalface. Pick up your stethoscope and move on.

But I have a list of things to say about this particular list:

1 It’s brought by a concerned daughter about her elderly and multi-pathological mum, who, naturally, tags along, too. This alters the dynamic.

My first rule of lists is to gain control of the list, but this is difficult because it’s held by the daughter in the spectator seat, slightly off centre stage. Grabbing it would require an undignified lunge. But I do it anyway.

2 The list is typed. And that confers on it a rare type of authority which makes it harder to destroy, which is the point of gaining control of the list. But I decide not to destroy it for a different reason, which item ‘3’ below will explain.

3 This is the most important thing, so, just like a patient, I’ve made sure it’s last on my list. This is it: the list is long.

Now, I know we all have battle stories about really, really, long lists. But I do think I now have in my possession the longest list ever presented to a GP.

That’s why I haven’t destroyed it: it demands to be preserved. Want to know how long it is? Of course you do. Well, here goes, and I swear I’m not exaggerating (and I have the proof, remember): 16 items. Repeat, as per the old football teleprinter for a really bizarre score, 16 (SIXTEEN). Sixteen. Typed. Items.

Item number one is urinary incontinence. And it gets worse from there. It finishes, at item number 16 – and I’m not making this up, how could I? – with ‘not satisfied with her care under the NHS’.

In the ten minutes available, I don’t think we resolve that one.

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