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Consultations over the counter? It was never going to work

The suggestion that GPs ought to consult standing up, to improve our health and perhaps our time keeping, dragged up a distant memory from my formative years. Back in the days when we wrote things down on bits of paper and doodled pictures of pairs of short planks in the margins each entry in the medical record was labelled with an ’S’ for a regular surgery appointment, an ’E’ for an extra/ slot in or a ’V’ for a home visit. So far, so understandable.

Now and again though, I’d come across the label ’QSC’ and it puzzled me. ’Quite Stupid Consultation’? ’Query Sick Child’? All before my time. What was it all about?

It turned out that it stood for ’Quick Service Counter’ – a quick chat with the doctor on duty over by the reception desk. No comfy chair, no banter, no examination (well, at least no undressing…) but if a punter only wanted to pick up a repeat prescription a day or two early or blag some eye drops for conjunctivitis, they simply joined the queue.

It soon bit the dust, as a result of an entirely predictable combination of inappropriate usage by the patients and some occasional ’Four Candles’ slash ’You have a cute angina’-style hilarity. It may have been good for the duty doctor’s bad back but it wasn’t ever going to work.

Besides, it must have made the doctor look like a bloody pharmacist and that would never do.

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