As a doctor I am often asked: Why do I have to wait so long for an appointment? and Why are you so useless? These are now two of the most common complaints suffered by patients coming to my twice monthly surgery. According to a recent NHS Survey more than 1 in 3 (2) of those asked about their general wellbeing reported suffering from either Appointment Delay (ADS) or Useless Doctor (UDS) Syndromes with a staggering 100% of those affected suffering from both simultaneously.
How do I know I am a sufferer?
Generally those suffering from either ADS or UDS become aware of their problem quite quickly. In the case of the former, difficulty in obtaining a speedy appointment is generally the first indication (often coupled with Answering Machine Rage (AMR), Electronic Appointment System Failure (EASF) or Irritable Receptionist Syndrome (IRS)). This will be followed by feelings of frustration, anger and large telephone bills. In the case of UDS, and regardless of diagnosis, the patient will generally feel less well over time before eventually improving without medical intervention. (In (fortunately) rare cases, the problem can escalate and develop into Hospital Appointment Delay Syndrome (HADS) - an altogether more serious form of the illness.) (See "Ninety-three Year Old Woman Spent 46 Years on the Waiting List", Guinness Book of Hospital Records (Threadbone Press) 2015.)
Many patients discover retrospectively that they have been "carriers" of the problem for many years without realising it simply because they haven't needed to see their doctor. Such is the virulence of the associated syndromes that whole families can be afflicted at one and the same time.
Can I pass it on to my unborn child?
Can it be cured?
There are currently few quick fixes for either problem and none are available on the National Health. Sourcing a private doctor is an option for the wealthy but those on modest to low incomes will need to self-medicate. The good news is that ADS normally dissipates over time as the body repairs itself and the need for an appointment disappears. A late sign that this is happening is the confirmation of an actual appointment now that it is no longer required. This can be followed by a further bout of IRS which can be ignored. UDS is alas incurable and some patients spend a lifetime coping with it. In a recent study 1 in 2 patients found relief by moving home; some reporting that the new Threadbone Laboratories developed "superdrug" Changing Postcodes yielded very positive results. It is available from most Estate Agents without prescription but is not cheap. Commission charges apply.
ADS and UDS Syndrome are record breakers in their own right. The 2015 Edition of
The Guinness Book of Hospital Records offered compelling evidence of the endemic nature of the problem. The winner Mrs Longue Delaye waited 46 years for a scan on her right index finger. Also recorded is the case of Miss Francine Bedblocker who, after a successful tonsillectomy aged 12 waited a record 62 years to be discharged pending a "prescription confirmation" issue. "I feel like I lost a bit of my youth", she said recently.