Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Doctors (and their receptionists) Need To Be Humbled!

We have been to the doctor's four times in the past seven days. We've had appointments in the late afternoon, early afternoon and early morning. Yet, each time, we have had to wait thirty minutes or more. (Yes, its nothing like the waiting times in Asia that run past 60 minutes but .....)

I've tried to be understanding. I know that they are dealing with unpredictable, human, situations here. The doctors are usually very friendly and caring when you finally get to see them and that often diffuses my anger. But does that make it all right? No. They shouldn't be excused. Not for long waits every single time!

Our appointments last week were all after lunch and I have given them the benefit of the doubt that small delays build up to big delays by the afternoon. So, today, I managed to get the second appointment of the day - 8.45am. I was told that the first appointment was a long one and started at 8.15am. We arrived five minutes early so that we would be on time and guess what? We didn't get to see the doctor until 9.20am. I had Aaron, moaning in pain the whole time and after 9am, I asked him to moan as loud and as long as he liked.

Its ridiculous! How can they treat sick people like this? When I asked the receptionist if we really did have an 8.45am appointment she was extremely off-handed about things and gave some lame answer about how they have no idea what goes on inside. What really got me angry was that when the patient finally came out, she was obviously one of those ladies that talked non-stop because she carried on with the receptionist for a long time. It sounded like she worked at another doctor's and was trying to share all her knowledge with this practice.

Do you think a doctor apologizes for keeping a patient waiting? Nope. Why not? I don't care if their first words to each and every patient is "Sorry" since its in a way their own fault anyway. This kind of waiting time seems to be accepted as the norm. And it leads me to my next question. IF they know that all their appointment slots are too short, why not just adjust the timing?

Yes, productivity is important but c'mon doctors! You all make way above the national average anyway.

Guess whats worse than the waiting? The self loathing that I feel when I have to debate with myself about whether or not I should say something about the long waits? Why do I need to feel that they might take offence and not be as caring towards us? Many people treat doctors like gods. I certainly don't but at the same time, I worry about treating them like ordinary humans in case they act like ordinary humans and take out their anger on my sick child! UGH!

Is there such a job as a 'Waiting Time Minimization Engineer'? I'll want that job. Give me the challenge of cutting those waiting times. I am sure there is a way to schedule more efficiently.

Ah...there is nothing like a good rant. I haven't done that here in awhile.


Bilbo said...

This is a common complaint all over...I once waited 45 minutes to see a doctor who, as it turned out, wasn't even in the office that day! I try to be understanding, too, but there are limits. I think doctors and their staffs have a responsibility to keep those of us who are waiting updated on the length of our wait...particularly if we have scheduled appointments and have arrived on time. Yes, this is a hot-button issue for me, too!

Mike said...

This is what blogs were made for. Let 'er rip!

Amanda said...

Bilbo - Waiting 45 mins for a doctor that wasn't in is ridiculous! Did you tell them off?

Mike - Exactly!

Niam said...

Sometimes it's not the doctors' fault, obviously it's those long winded aunties. I think they should just get rid of the word appointment

Bilbo said...

I did, in fact, complain (loudly), but it didn't do any good. The person who checked me in and put me in the little room to wait for the doctor who wasn't there that day had left by the time I came out to ask what was going on. They ended up rescheduling me for the following day, which was a pain because the hospital was quite a distance away on the other side of town. And I never did get an apology of any kind.