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Neither seen, nor heard

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.