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A Doctor Writes #2,341


A doctor

As a doctor I am often asked what was CONTRIK-69 and was it worth it?


There is no simple answer to this question as it depends entirely upon who you ask.


Speaking as a doctor [rather than as a Dorset Regional Health Service [DRHS] employee] I would have to say it was an Act of God and an extremely fortuitous one at that. Pre CONTRIK-69 I used to work four days a week and had to deal with many of my patients face-to-face. Whilst this was undoubtedly good practice from a clinical point of view [and many surveys suggest that, in principle at least, most patients would prefer to meet with their GP rather than chat to them over the telephone] it was very stressful, not only for me but also for my excellent gatekeeper [surely receptionist? [Ed]] who had to bark at sick people for up to 5 hours per day just to get them to sit still and wait their turn patiently. [Add children [many of them sick] into the equation and you can imagine the chaos... Add the fact that Maureen was also answering the telephone and having to tell people that there was no chance of an actual appointment before Christmas 2023 and you will appreciate that the situation was frankly intolerable.]


Maureen "finishing up" before the practice Christmas party. This pre-CONTRIK-69 illustrates the intolerable stress under which she often found herself

Equally, doing my daily rounds to visit people in their sick beds [yes, imagine, this once used to happen - and sometimes after 3.30pm!!] was expensive, inefficient, time consuming and, at a time of rising fuel-prices and more costly bio-security suits, profit-sapping for the practice as a whole*.


[My lady wife is now also spared the indignity of having to rise from the marital bed at all hours to answer the telephone whilst I try to recuperate from a busy day administerin the practice's financial accounting systems.]


* It is estimated by the DRHS that the average doctor has saved up to £20 per annum in reduced blue disinfectant, wooden tongue-depressor and other useless desk-top adornment costs alone. There are also major savings in paper examination couch covers and diverse rubber-related products. This means that, on average, an extra 0.0000000000003% of DRHS funds can go into real patient care.


The modern doctor's desk, clean, ordered, computer-oriented and without unsightly diagnostic tools.

Happily, for almost all concerned, CONRIK-69 allowed for a complete reset both of client expectations and of outmoded practices. Now patients are grateful for an online chat or - in cases of extreme emergency/illness - the opportunity to send in a photograph and to receive - by close of business the next day at the latest - an acknowledgement of receipt. It has also been observed by many of my partners that the most persistent patients [especially those with real ongoing health issues] often stop trying to make appointments altogether - in many cases because they are no longer capable of doing so. This leads us to conclude that the post-COVID paradigm is both more efficient [many patients have dropped off our lists altogether either through choice, death or both] and more discriminatory [in a good way - obviously not sexual, racial or any other!!]


Fashions may change, but the role of the doctor's trusty receptionist has remained a constant in patients' lives.

As a result of these efficiencies, my own practice has been able to recruit many more doctors all of whom are assured that they [a] won't have to meet with patients unless they absolutely want to [b] won't be required to come to surgery on a regular basis, if at all, but can instead ®"diagnose from home"™ *, and [c] will earned a guaranteed minimum of £350,000 per annum plus expenses.**


* "diagnose from home" is an algorithm-led automated electronic diagnostic system which determines whether or not a patient is ill on the basis of login details, age, weight, gender [optional] and number of appointments made in the previous 12 months

** based on an average 8 hour working [from home] week. This includes all patient "contact hours" as well as an average 5 hours administration allowance.


Cissie Barnsfield has mental health issues - she can't remember when she last saw a doctor face-to-face.


Next time: I have terrible Quatar. How do I get my hankies clean?

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