The doctor said: Google it!

I make a premise, this is not a judgment but an analysis of a small episode that makes you think. 

Find it on Google, that’s the answer I had from my GP. The receptionist/nurse (I’m not sure who answered me I’ve been there, months ago, just once and I remember a lady with a nurse uniform so I will call her receptionist/nurse) told me to find the solution to my problem on Google. The Coronavirus changed everything in our life, has it also changed how doctors visit and perform surgery on patients? For one-second I thought was normal and I was about to type these words on Amazon: tools for doing a surgery. Of course I didn’t. I know, you are having a laugh. 

Let me go into this story and find to understand how people and healthcare are reacting and changing because of the Covid.

The receptionist/nurse represents the doctor’s office. She is the first person all the patients see, she is the image of the clinic. She is part of NHS so if she is professional she gives a positive image of the clinic but if she doesn’t unfortunately the result is negative and the patients are not happy.

The story started during the lockdown when I used the clinic website for a medical consultation. It wasn’t an emergency, but I needed a doctor because I was unwell. The doctor called me after a few minutes. She was professional and very helpful in giving me all the information. This was what I thought at that moment. I trusted her, “ She is a doctor and knows better than me how NHS works”. So I followed her advice. For three months, I repeat three months I called once a week a clinic recommended by the GP and for three months I had the same answer: “Call tomorrow morning and I’ll put you on a list and then the doctor will call you back.” Nobody called me back.

A few weeks ago, after spending three months to call them (I intentionally repeat three months because they are an eternity in terms of health), the receptionist finally transferred my call to one of their nurses. I have to admit he was polite, but he asked me so many questions that I felt like I was being questioned by the police. I just asked him to make an appointment to do a little surgery. So the answer had to be yes or no. I would have understood if he had asked me questions about the Coronavisrus. But wasn’t this the case.

All this ended by the following sentence : “You have to call your GP and through the GP you can get an appointment with the specialist you are looking for, but we don’t do this kind of surgery”. Excuse me? If I ask you about a service and you don’t do this why you need to know everything about my health and private life? Just tell me, no we don’t do this service, and that’s it. He got me for half an hour on the phone for nothing. It was a waste of time for me and for him. And also why every time I called to this clinic, they never told me that this surgery is not available? A lot of questions were in my mind, It all started with a call to make an appointment with a doctor for a small surgical operation. Something simple to do. Calling, appointment and visit. But it became strange and complicated.

Keeping my patience I called the GP, again, and here I got the magic answer. After I explained to the nurse what the other centre told me she said: “They are lying. They do this kind of surgery.” All right. Me: “Can I make an appointment with the doctor, I don’t feel well, I need a cure for this problem”. The receptionist/nurse: “Google it”!

I changed the GP and I’m not solved my problem yet. I know very well that by going to a private clinic and paying I can solve it in one-second. But this is not what I want to reflect on. What I would like to get everyone, from citizens to NHS leaders and politicians is that the system works but the most important thing is missing, I’m talking about professionalism. Where’s the ethics? Can a patient get as an answer, “Google it”?

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