This is a little anecdote that has nothing to do with MH (aside from the fact that it was my own MH that found me in a particular place at a particular time).
Last Friday morning, I had to visit the Practice Nurse to have some dressings changed. Directly ahead of me in the queue was a lady who appeared to be quite badly disabled. She was most likely in her forties, walked with a stick and had both wrists strapped up. She seemed quite shaken as she explained she was late, but had phoned ahead and been promised that she’d be seen regardless. She went on to become quite tearful as she relayed her difficulties in finding a parking space and rushing, with quite obvious limited mobility, to the Surgery. To clarify, her appointment was 11.00…this was 11:15, so she was 15 minutes late. The Receptionist fussed a little and then disappeared. She returned with a second Receptionist who transpired to be the person the (by now quite upset patient) had spoken to on the phone.
What came next still dumbfounds be, it really does. The second Receptionist acknowledged that she had indeed spoken to this lady on the phone, but that she had also explained the ’10 minute rule’ (seriously…?) whereby any patient more than 10 minutes late will absolutely not be seen. She seemed blind to the fact that the lady was upset, and that this was all taking place in front of a busy waiting room and a, by now quite lengthy, queue of people. The patient became further distressed and explained her tardiness for a second time. Receptionist number two eventually conceded that she would speak to the GP concerned, but that she doubted that the ’10 minute rule’ could be breached. The patient hobbled to a seat, and tried to gather herself. Within 60 seconds, the GP called her through…
The ‘ten minute rule’…? Honestly…? It reminded me of the ‘three’s a crowd’ rule employed in a Supermarket where I worked as a student. We couldn’t have any more than three people queuing at one checkout before someone else had to get behind a till and alleviate the busy spell.
Why are Doctor Surgery Receptionists so nasty…? Why can’t they consider the needs of each person individually, and do their best to help? They have no idea who is coming to see the GP, or why. They don’t know what stress factors are present in the lives of the people who pass through the doors. Is it really necessary to adopt a ‘jobs worth’ attitude and essentially intimidate vulnerable people? A little more compassion, please people.