I was reading the newspaper the other day and there was an article on to-day’s doctors. It struck a cord with me having had a bit more to do with doctors in the past couple of years, than the previous 50 as far as I can gather. The author was commenting about the more cavalier attitude and changes from yesteryear in the medical profession.
He, like me can remember a time when a visit to the doctor was a case of trotting down to the local surgery, walking in, taking a seat and waiting your turn. For my case I’m talking about the late forties to the mid sixties. I recall our local surgery was not much bigger than the average bathroom, with a bench down one side and the rest was standing room only, even outside weather permitting. There was a little old lady called Maggie who went to a metal case as soon as you went in, pulled out your file and gave it to you, with a cheery hello how’s the rest of the family, I was fascinated by her extremely bowed legs [I was very young] which were obviously the result of rickets.
Our Doctor was called Doctor Salmon and I was with him right up until I moved from Scotland and moved to England. OK in these days, few people had phones, so we couldn’t make appointments, home visits were much more common as most didn’t have transport if we were too poorly to get a bus.
How different nowadays, some surgeries won’t let you make appointments ‘over the counter’ and you must phone, when you do, you get the usual menus, when you do get to speak to a person, they offer you something about 4 – 5 hence,and ask you which doctor you’d like to see, we have seven in our practice, and then have the cheek to ask you what the problem is. I even read that some patients have been ‘blacklisted’ for being problematic. One woman being ejected because her child was crying in surgery.
There are about ten receptionists/secretaries behind the screen, plus about three nurses, so it’s no wonder that parking is a problem. with half the spaces allocated to staff, the only alternative to parking on the 1 hour street zone, is using the local supermarket next door.
I have never seen a doctor at the time of the appointment usually half to three quarters of an hour later, and because they are running late, haven’t got the time to listen.
The author of the piece makes reference to the ‘gangster moll like receptionists’ also strikes a chord, but I may save that for another day.
you can read the article in the Sunday Express /From the editor/ Martin Townsend.
There I feel better now.
The last time I went, my doctor, only the other week, he had one eye on the computer and I’m sure one on the clock. I came away feeling distinctly let down, as I don’t think he really understood why I was there.