Three-Monthly Review

On Friday afternoonI returned to Clinic E. I wheeled my way along the seemingly never-ending corridor, past the hordes waiting to be seen at Clinics A, B, C, D, then up to the familiar reception desk at familiar old Clinic E. Where the nice receptionist was all smiles and welcomes.

And I settled myself down to wait in my usual place, by the end of a row of seats, easy for a quick dash into the consulting room. And I waited. And waited.

Now to be fair I was a bit early. And I’ve hung around for longer. But hanging around is hanging around. I was wishing they’d just stick to appointment times. Then I told myself to be patient, it’s a hospital, they don’t know how long it’s going to take to deal with patients.

Then a nice nurse came up an apologised. She said sorry for the delay, the morning clinic ran over, things are a bit late. She said things were about half an hour late. And she was right. Thirty eight minutes after my appointment time, the nice nurse came back and said Mister A is ready for you now.

I’d been expecting some or all of the multi-disciplinary team to be there like before, but there was only Mister A. No team, no  dietitian, not even a student. Mister A said you (meaning me) are an easy patient and as we are so busy….

Then just like last time he put the tube with a camera on the end up my nose and pushed it in. He said turn your head and look at the screen, and for the first time I could see what the camera saw. I asked Mister A what was I looking at, and he took me on a tour of my mouth and throat and the place where my left tonsil used to be. There everything was, my epiglotus, the (surprisingly narrow) entrance to my oesophagus, it was a bit like a moving picture Reader’s Digest. Mister A said everything looked ok, then pulled the camera cord out

Then he examined my neck and that was that. All clear after three months.

He gave me the timetable for future check-ups. Every six weeks for eighteen months, then every three months, then every six months, then every year. So I’ll be coming back to Clinic E for a while.

On my way back to reception to get a date for my next appointment the nice nurse smiled again and handed me a Patient Satisfaction Survey. All the friendliness suddenly made sense. Staff appraisal ratings might depend on my response. No wonder they’d all been smiling.

But fair enough. I filled the survey in. Actually I did it online, which was helpful for those of us who can’t do handwriting too well. And I was pretty complimentary to be honest, apart from the thirty eight minutes, obviously.

I hope the appraisals went well.

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1 Response to Three-Monthly Review

  1. Jos Leeder says:

    Hi Mark, seems like you encountered the ‘Friday afternoon factor’. I have taken my dad to oncology for his cancer checkups on Friday afternoons and almost every time there have been delays. It might be amusing to speculate on what causes this factor? Perhaps the clinicians all go to the pub on Friday lunchtimes for what my son calls a ‘Debrief’. Perhaps clinicians, like most workers, slow down gradually on Fridays as the weekend looms and they take longer to carry out each appointment. Perhaps the given appointment time is based on some nonsensical target set by the Government and is entirely unrealistic. Perhaps each appointment takes longer than expected because the clinicians show a little more care than they should. And perhaps you might ask for an appointment during the morning on an earlier weekday; then you could carry out some comparative research and formulate a subsequent hypothesis. If nothing else, it would be a bit of fun!

    Keep smiling.


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