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Join the queue

Well, it’s taken me two weeks, but I’ve finally got to the front of the queue of people wanting to thank that Portsmouth GP who’s retiring. I was there not as a patient, but simply to thank him for providing the nationals with the one positive news story about GPs that I’ve read for…er…ever.

I also wanted to let him know that we often have queues down our way, too, but for rather different reasons. Patients form queues outside Dr Copperfield’s surgery because:

– They are trying to get an appointment.

– They have toothache and can’t find a dentist.

– They can’t get through on the phone.

– They want to shout at the reception staff.

– They want to shout at me.

– They are scared by today’s tabloid health scare/wish to be prescribed today’s tabloid health breakthrough.

– They have been told to come here by NHS 111.

– They want to have a grumble about how awful everything is.

– They want access to the trough of antibiotics in the waiting room.

– They’re here to smash our window/urinate in our lift.

– The pharmacist has told them that the drug they have been using for the last 23 years is no longer available and so they must see me for an alternative.

– They want to use the loo for the usual purpose.

– They want to use the loo to shoot up.

– They join most queues because there’s usually something free at the end of it (and they’re right).

– They have come to throw things at me (such as bricks or punches).

– They’ve been to their pre-op assessment and have been told that their blood pressure is ‘dangerously high’.

– They’re waiting to complain about the long waits.

– They joined the queue some time ago but have now forgotten why.

It does occur to me that, when I retire, while some patients may indeed be celebrating, it’s very unlikely that there will queues going round the block to thank me. Which gives me a perverse sense of pride. Otherwise I might think I’d softened up over the years.

Queues of grieving patients? Thanks, but no thanks. 

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