I love the fact that we have an NHS service and am forever grateful that we don’t have to worry about medical bills because we know we will be taken care of no matter what our financial circumstances – eventually. Everybody receiving NHS care is treated the same and this is the kind of world I want to be living in.
I have to point out then that this moan is certainly not about the NHS as a service. Instead it is about the irritating (in general) medical receptionists who book the appointments!
I’ve written before about the ‘jobs worthy-ness’ of staff I have come into contact with behind appointment books and it really does irk me that I have been asked on several occasions, very probing questions about why I want to see my practitioner. Frankly secretary, it’s none of your business, you are there to populate the appointment column with names. That is all!
This week I went to see my lovely dentist who is without doubt the most professional, caring and kind dentist I have ever met. She treats me on an NHS basis but has gone out of her way in the past to see me and treat me while I am still on a maternity exemption even though I have left it late in the day to make an appointment. She treats my whole family and because of the way she talks calmly and confidently with a reassuring manner, my children look forward to seeing her. Even I look forward to seeing her absolutely knowing that she will go out of her way to make sure I am ok while involving the children in the chat as she inspects my mouth. The other day she even let Florence press the button for my X-Rays which not only got her out of the room (the desired effect) but kept her entertained and not worried about me! My dentist is lovely and that is absolutely NOT in question either!
However, my trip to see the Dentist this week was not all a great experience and while in the waiting room I found myself enraged with, yep, you guessed it, the receptionist. To start with she didn’t even acknowledge me as I walked in the door, so engrossed was she in her conversation with the other one. I had to stand at the counter and wait for at least 3 minutes before she bothered to look my way. When she did she was uninterested in the fact I was telling her that Florence is now allergic to penicillin and seemed positively peed off that she had to physically get up from her seat to get her notes when Florence wasn’t even the patient of the day. Apoplectic is the impression her eye dance gave when I informed her I wanted to register Jimmy too and she instructed me to take the form away and bring it back in October for his appointment. I thought she might actually go pop when I told her it would take me two minutes so I would do it there and then!
Anyway, the other receptionist, who hadn’t even so much as smiled at me let alone deigned me with her face, was head down facing the other direction by this point. When ‘my lady’ went to find the notes I asked her a quick question. Something very general about opening times and she briefly looked at me with her glazed over eyes to tell me the lady I was dealing with would be back in a minute. She didn’t want to have to serve one single jot of a customer that wasn’t hers! It was this lady who later made the statement that annoyed me even more and cemented my dislike of medical receptionists further!
After I had filled out my new forms, updated others and sorted future appointments (all of course things which increased the sighs of the receptionists to biblical proportions – anyone would think they were there for a Mother’s meeting rather than, urm, to man the desk) I sat down to read a 6 month old copy of ‘Woman’ (not bad for a waiting room I’d say, I’ve read things years out of date before) and left the two behind their computers to get back to the importance of their conversation.
Because the room is very small and because their voices were very loud I heard every word but they didn’t seem at all bothered by the fact there were two other patients as well as us waiting and listening in. This is what was said next:
Receptionist 1 (my lady): Did you book Mr X in for 8.30 tomorrow?
Receptionist 2: Yes, but Dentist is always in early so she won’t mind and the poor thing was in so much pain I squeezed him in where I could. I OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t have bothered if he was NHS but he’s paying so I popped him in.
Urrrrrrrr, what now? So if I was in pain and an NHS patient you wouldn’t bother to try and squeeze me in but if I am paying then you will? I’m fairly sure that this isn’t why the NHS was set up and don’t you think it should be up to the Dentist’s discretion not yours? You know, the actual person who is trained and will be doing the work in my mouth? Why is is up to the secretary to decide if someone’s pain is worthy of a schedule squeeze?!
And THIS is what irritates me SO much about receptionists! The way they play God with who sees the practitioner just because they can, just because they have so little power elsewhere in their lives that they run away with the appointment book at work! I know I can’t change it but I will definitely moan about it because I know this! IF I was in pain and I spoke to my Dentist personally then I have every faith that she would ‘squeeze’ me in. If I spoke to the receptionist at 5 past the time surgery opened because I couldn’t get through immediately then she would make me wait three more days over the weekend to ring again and start the telephone queue lottery for another day. Just because she feels like it and just because I am NHS.
MY LIFE WITH TWO!
Well, we have just been having the most fantastic summer holiday! We’ve been to Camp Bestival, Lollibop, two different zoos, seen friends, stayed with my Mum and Florence has been at various different times to stay with all of her Grandparents. We’ve been doing all of our favourite things with lots of relaxation and it feels like a long hot (mostly) summer holiday! Just what I wanted. I can’t believe that Florence starts big school two weeks from today but I’m just not going to think about it for a bit because hey, it’s still TWO WHOLE weeks away! Jimmy is going to miss her just as much as I will when she goes back and I am planning a whole new routine for the to of us to keep busy during the day until we can pick her up! Jimmy and I are going to have lots planned for next term!
My favourite picture from this week is me with the children and ‘Show Me Show Me’ stars Chris and Pui at the Lollibop Festival!
I’ll be back again next week but in the mean time please do follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby.