Finally, the IT bods had sorted out our call screen, free with the latest instalment of SystmOne.
Ditching the ever-reliable but out-moded tannoy, I right-clicked on the patient and called the appointment. Bong – I heard it discharge in the waiting room.
White stick in hand, mid-fifties, in she walked. Severely visually impaired and with her antique Dad in tow.
‘Lucky I was there to read her name out,’ Dad groaned. ‘She’s blind ya know.’
‘That’s a bloody waste of time isn’t it?’ She moaned. Followed by: ‘waste of bloody money too.’
I could have let this go, but I feel responsible for those call screens, especially after dragging the practice through a traumatic systems migration
I didn’t let it go: ‘I dunno madam, they tend to save on efficiency. Patients seem to like them.’ I had no evidence base for the second statement, or the first for that matter.
‘Not the blind ones I reckon,’ she reasoned. ‘Bet they preferred the old system.’
‘Not the deaf patients, though,’ I fired back, ‘they can’t hear the tannoy.’
‘Yeah, and how many deaf ‘uns have you got?’ she enquired.
‘Four, I think,’ I guessed. ‘More deaf than blind in fact.’
‘Yeah, but you know they’re deaf, so you’d go and call ‘em in person?’
I terminated the debate: ‘Anyway, what can I do for you today?’
‘It’s my ears,’ she said, ‘I can’t hear a bloody thing.’
Dr Tom Gillham is a GP in Hertfordshire and Specialty Doctor in A&E. You can follow him @tjgillham.