Yesterday I attended my GP surgery for my annual blood pressure review. As an example of good medical practice I was impressed that the pharmacist, in supplying my medication, told me I must see my GP – from whom I also received a letter to attend.
The appointment was with the practice nurse, to whom I took an immediate dislike for her manner. I explained that I had a viral cough, to which she replied “Don’t come near me, as I’m travelling with a person who has had chemotherapy and it would be dangerous as she is vulnerable”. As with most doctors and nurses you see, they send most of the time staring into their computer, even leaving me to read the pressure reading. As it was high, she told me to rest ” But knock on the door if I have forgotten about you, as is likely”. This resting is familiar procedure, but only works if there is somewhere calmer to rest than the waiting room. In a bossy way I was told not to do the crossword or use my mobile. When I returned and the reading did not alter I, which is unlike me, told the nurse that I did not like her manner and this might be the reason for the high reading. Previously a high reading had dropped. To be fair, she apologised, increased the dosage and dealt with any side effects fully.
My father was a GP with an excellent manner . He would have immediately soothed the patient, not panicked and looked him/her in the eye. He would have read his handwritten notes beforehand in preparation for the consultation. He passed away last year and we had a dinner in his memory. This was attended by an eminent ear nose and throat surgeon. He said of my father, and the medical profession, that it was both an art and a science. Nowadays they focus on the science, but my father understood the art of relating to a patient. Such a skill is increasingly rare. As I say, its enough to make your blood boil.