Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Doctor’s dilemas another one.

Question: Where's me phone?

Answer: Where you left it - at the doctors.

Last week in the UK we were in the midst of the Easter school holidays and for some unknown reason GPs’ with families want to spend some time with them. For some unknown reasons our patients wish to spend time with their families at the same time. As a result doctors with families are few on the ground while patients with alleged illnesses are crawling out of the ground in locust like hordes of unceasing wellness.

In amongst the ever increasing “it is an emergency I need to be seen today” 15 extras one of our acutely “ill” patients left their mobile phone. In the first 12 hours or less that it was with us this heavily damaged phone which had clearly seen better days recorded no less than a hundred missed calls mostly over night.

Doning our NHS flu PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) kit we have removed the item to a secure environmentally protected unit provided as part of the NHS flu Pandemic contingency plans for the treatment of key personnel (PCT Chief Execs) and contained the hazzard therein. We knew it would be safe there for there was an extra curtain provided as part of the extra PPE provided by those in charge in extremis.

Drawing lots one of us entered the secure unit to answer the phone in order to determine who its alleged owner is/was/might be at great personal risk given the state of the phone.

After answering several clearly concerned friends' or relatives' calls the conversations we had with them were along the lines of:

"Where’s me mate?"
"Are you Dave?"
"I need Dave I’ve got to get some gear, sorry mate he owes me someit,"
"I’m doing a job for him when’s me kit coming I did it . . ."

Surprisingly “Dave” with all of their very concerned friends and relatives asking repeatedly after him didn’t have any who were keen to give their friend’s name to us even when we explained why we wanted it.

Using all of our years in the medical profession we were by a simple process of elimination able to track down after three weeks of NCSI (Northernshire Crimo Scrotscene Investigation) able to trace who we thought the owner might be just before the battery ran out. We would have loved to have returned some of the calls we received but for some reason there was no credit on the phone.

Herein lies the dilemma for us here at ND Central:

1) Do we dispose of the offending item currently isolated from the world as a health hazard into a secure sharps box to safeguard humanity?

2) Do we hand the item over to the Police as lost properity in the hope that the local guardians of law and order will do their utmost to track down the phone’s rightful owner?

3) Do we contact the local Federales and say we have reason to believe that the phone is a major crime scene and so risk a breach of patient confidentiality as a result of being good citizens?

4) Do we waste valuable practice time and effort trying to trace the owner who could barely stand or walk when seen and who thought that in his one “had to be seen today” appointment they would get 3 other chemically challenged individuals seen for urgent prscriptions for stuff that had been spirited away by the marauding hordes of the invisible benzo and Z-drug fairies who because it is Spring and the mating season have been very busy lately?

You the jury have the case. What should the doctor concerned do?

Praise be to the Party for allowing general practices across the land to be lost property offices at no expense to their patients and the numerous gifts (usually mobile phones and car keys) that they leave on our desks on a regular basis. How much time should we spend informing our patients of their lost property?

Or should we as GPs be good citizens? Discuss.


hyperCRYPTICal said...

Erm, well, yes, regrettably I find myself concerned with regards to this illuminating post and its contents therein.

You write that docs with families appreciate time spent with them and indeed I do not doubt this is so but would also state that it is true that we (non-medically inclined that is) all have a need to belong too, for that is the essence of who we are in the pack animal species that is the human. However this need to belong, to cradle in the bosom of our families is not the real ishoo here.

It is clear to me that ‘Dave’ presented in crisis, indeed that his ‘emergency appointment’ was indeed an emergency and his massive red flag waving in that he “had to be seen today” was ?deliberately overlooked/ignored by whichever doc was honoured with his presence and, and this is an important and, (selfishly) had his/her mind on other things…

The Evidence

1. Dave presented at a time he knew docs (selfishly) would not want to see him – proof of caring.
2. When doc did not apparently care – he left his mobile as a desperate cry for help. (Please find me – prove you care.)
3. His wide support system – his concerned family/friends leaving angst riddled messages upon his silence/unavailability. (I find it very worrying that you find his family/friends reluctance to avail you of his whereabouts – it is clear that they did not know - irritating (?) as there is confidentiality ishoos here. Perhaps a CPD on confidentiality might be worth considering?)

It is my humble opinion that you have focussed on the phone and not focussed on the real ishoo here and that is of the glaring needs of dear Dave and I firmly believe that introspection is required here.

Please find dear Dave as I fear his life is at risk.

Is there a need for revalidation? I think your post clearly states that there is…

Anna :o]

PS In that lost property office of yours – do you have a pink purse containing a small packet of white powder (cornflower)? If you do it is not mine.

Anonymous said...

I think you should alert the PCT executive they have failed abysmally to have Protocols such a scenario. A sacking offence shurely?

Muscleguy said...

I agree with Anonymous, the absence of a clear protocol, along with a named 'Lost Property Officer' (with fully accredited training certificate from private company sucking the public teat) is a clear failure by someone else and heads should roll, or a strongly worded memo sent. Whichever results in the least blood.

Can't think of a name said...

There is a simple way to work this out. You need answer only one question: which course of action will accrue the most QoF points?

As a mere layman, I suggest that the best course of action is to leave a message with one of Dave's friends inviting him in for a free, comprehensive health check, which will, of course, include anything and everything you can get funding for.

Then switch the phone off and concentrate on gaining more points, er, treating more patients.

Northern Doc said...

Anna et al thank you for taking the time to read and once again to post your comments and suggestions. The team was mortified to realize the shortcomings in the care we provided to Dave and convened an extraordinary meeting of the Resistance this weekend at a secret location called the Café Michelle.

We set aside 2 hours in which we filled in a SRT (structured reflective template) based on your concerns. The first of us to pass a Whisky Charlie took the completed SRT and used it for a period of personal reflection in order to get to the bottom of our corporate shortcomings. We also filled in a critical incident report to ensure that our betters at the PCT who daily deal with Daves can advise us on how to treat them better.

You will be pleased to know that as we left ND Central this Friday our reception staff were hugging each other in tears of joy and informed us that Dave had staggered into surgery at the end of his busy week at the office, fully supported by his 3 mates, and asked “Have you got me f***ing phone?”

We had to restrain a member of staff from committing hari-kari as they apologized to Dave head bowed on their knees in shame that his phone was not charged from the 10 meter long wall of plugs connected to different phone chargers we have at ND Central to ensure that all client’s lost phones are returned to them fully charged and not having missed a single call or text. (Someone had nicked that particular charger).

We pride ourselves on our high customer care standards adopted from Japanese models.

Have a nice day y’all and let’s be careful out there.

We hope these measures and the outcome of the story meet with your collective approval. (Head bowed).

ND and the team ;)

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