As a guy with a longstanding chronic illness, this subject is REALLY close to my heart.
Fucking Medical Receptionists.
A recent case, appalling in its callousness, involved a two year old infant, who contracted a case of what was later judged to be the worst case of chickenpox that doctors had ever seen; his tiny body smothered in weeping sores.
His mother, as any good mother would, knew it was serious, and took the logical decision to immediately contact her GP’s surgery. Yet when phoning, the receptionist told her that her child didn’t need to see a doctor. And after constant pleadings extending over two long agonising days, he was eventually rushed to hospital, where he was admitted as an emergency, connected to intravenous drips and given morphine.
As a former nurse, I feel deeply sympathetic for the toddler, horror for his parent’s ordeal and relief that, in the end, the child did fully recover. But I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised.
As I have experienced constantly with my own GP’s surgery, this response in someone’s time of ultimate need is entirely accurate of the typical GP receptionist: all-powerful gatekeepers who often stand between patient and doctor, determined at all costs to keep them apart, spectacularly exceeding whatever authority they seem to think they possess and seemingly fuelled by a thirst for power — while having neither the education, qualification and humanity to achieve it in their own right.
They are simply puffed-up little waiting-room ayatollahs. And due to the abject laziness of GP’s who seem content with such an arrangement, this problem is getting worse, not better, as time passes.
More and more, people are forced to subject themselves to the selective and highly intrusive filter of the GP receptionist. I despise the spineless attitude of the GPs who choose to hide behind them, abrogating their diagnostic responsibilities to idiots whilst raking in big salaries. Such behaviour by these protectors is appalling. And when in discussion with others, one word that comes up time and again to describe their rudeness and scornful haughtiness is ‘Rottweiler’.
These people need no medical knowledge, not even first aid training. A look through job vacancy lists makes it clear that all they need to be able to do is keep a diary and file papers in alphabetical order. All that is asked is that they are ‘reliable’, or ‘flexible’ and usually specify that experience or computer skills are ‘desirable but not essential’. In short, it’s a job custom-made for anyone with scant qualifications-except in lording it over other people-which, in turn, suggests it is a particular kind of personality that would be drawn to it in the first place.
Of course, it goes without saying that there are lots of GP receptionists who are kind, decent, well-informed and clever. But as long as they’re not actually required to have any of these qualities, the existence of these little Napoleons is going to cost us dearly, because we turn to our health professionals when we feel at our worst and need the best. And all too often, we don’t get this.
In an A & E department, it’s the triage nurse — professionally qualified and who can spot the difference between a stroke and a hangover — who decides when and whether you see a doctor. And these judgments should also, by the way, be made about the ‘time-wasters’, the people who’s stupidity causes all of us to be tarnished with the same brush.But I don’t care.
If, unchecked, the acceptance of leaving diagnostic decisions to amateurs will risk lives. And in the meantime, is it too much to ask from a publicly funded national health service that we have a GP’s receptionist who calmly says, ‘The doctor will see you now?”