Anonymous guest blog. Needs no introduction.
Max Tasen sat back and waited for his name to appear in lights. Various names appeared in red, accompanied by a buzz, and hobbling men, sneezing women and screaming children rose one by one, and obediently made their way to the designated consulting rooms. Max sat, and his neck began to ache as he continued to look up at the sign above Reception.
Eventually a kindly looking lady appeared carrying a clipboard. “Come with me,” she said. She smiled as she took Max’ coat and briefcase; Max followed her down a long corridor where there was a small round table and four chairs.
“Please sit down,” said the lady, gesturing to one of the chairs before popping her spectacles on the end of her nose and looking at the clipboard. “Ah… I see you’ve just moved into the area and our GPs note you have complex health needs. Here … have a paracetamol.”
Max stared in disbelief. “If I thought a paracetamol was the solution to my complex health needs, I assure you I wouldn’t be here. Have you got my medical records?”
“Not exactly. Just a few notes from Doctor asking me to look after you. Would you like a cup of tea then?”
“No I do not want a cup of tea, thank you'” replied Max, who was by now getting rather cross by this well-meaning but rather irritating individual. “Can you please explain to me what is going on here?”
“I’m Maureen and I’m here to look after you this afternoon.”
“So you’re a doctor? A nurse?”
“Er no,” replied Maureen, “but I’ve been here years and spent a lot of time watching the doctors.”
“But you’re not a doctor.”
“No. I’m a doctor’s helper. You see this practice are under great pressure at the moment to reach targets for seeing a certain amount of patients per day in routine appointments and I’m afraid to say your complex needs mean that you don’t fit the criteria for a routine appointment,” explained Maureen. “So I’m going to look after you. Are you sure you don’t want a paracetamol?”
“Quite sure thank you,” replied Max. He leaned towards Maureen. He frowned slightly. “Let me get this straight… You’re looking after me because the doctors are too busy with routine appointments?”
“Yes,” nodded Maureen smiling.
“Do you have any qualifications to, er, ‘Look after me’?”
“I have English and Maths ‘O’ levels and I never miss an episode of Holby City'” said Maureen proudly.
“So when do I get to see a proper doctor?” asked Max.
“I’m afraid I’m not in a position to answer that at the moment; like I said, all our doctors are flat out with routine appointments.”
“Am I to sit in this corridor all afternoon?” asked Max. “Aren’t you even going to take me to a consulting room?”
“Look, Mr Tasen,'” began Maureen (whose kindly demeanour was beginning to thin on account of the fact she’d never before had a patient who’d questioned her position as a doctor’s helper), “you parked in the routine patients’ car-park, you sat in their waiting room. Really Mr Tasen, we go to great lengths to ensure all our patients feel part of this practice – even those with complex health needs,” and with a huff she bustled off back down the corridor towards the Reception.
“Where are you going?” Max called after her.
Maureen turned and looked scornfully at him. “The other two patients with complex health needs have arrived; you really didn’t think you’d have me all to yourself did you?”