Tuesday, 12 June 2012

It will only take 5 minutes or I will be there in just 5 minutes.

One of the great things about the United Kingdom is that since the 1944 Education Act there has been universal state funded secondary education for all. Many including some of the teams' families here at ND Central have benefited from this as we could never ever have gone to University or medical school without it.

Unfortunately while a few have benefited from this benevolent example of state sponsored improvement which is slowly sinking beyond the horizons of any born into similar circumstances to ours today there has emerged an uber class of those who have missed the benefits of free education namely simple things like being able to read and write and most often the ability to tell the time.

Remember lessons with teacher in primary school about the big hand and the little hand? And when you went to big school struggling with the 24-hour clock?

Well in general practice most people know what the time is. They wear watches, have computers that display the time and may even have Smartphones so they know what time is. Unfortunately patients, despite the same free education that we have had do not understand the space-time continuum. Take for example the following gambits:

I need to see the doctor it will only take 5 minutes

I need this form filling in it will only take 5 minutes

I need this medical doing it will only take 5 minutes

I need to see a nurse it will only take 5 minutes.

We are sure that anyone working in general practice can supply a variety of examples of "it will only take 5 minutes". If all of these requests did just take 5 minutes we would all be on a three hour working day, 3 days a week tops.

The worst of all the "it will just take 5 minutes" are the parents of allegedly ill children who always demand emergency appointments towards the end of an evening surgery saying "I will be there in just 5 minutes". Geographically they should be there in less than 3 minutes and they are always told to come straight down.

So the GP waits and waits and the surgery shuts and there is a no show.

Has the child actually been ill and had to go to A&E? No we check.

If you are a conscinctious GP you might consider doing a home visit or ringing the parents but there is never any answer.

The "I will be there in 5 minutes" have clearly found something better to do with their gnat like existence and attention span and no doubt will be asking others for a mere five minutes of their time for something that "will only take 5 minutes".

Praise be to the Party for ensuring that despite almost 70 years after the introduction of free state education most patients are so well educated that they can't tell the time but they do know how to waste other's time that they don't pay for instead. Time and time again.