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Are we ALL getting a little more intolerant? – by Nicola Davies

by in Funny, GP Practice Management, Patients

Are we ALL getting a little more intolerant? Or is it just those of us over-50s who are going through certain hormonal changes – menopause starts with the prefix ‘MEN’ for a reason you know!

We’ve had more patients who are irritated with the service than ever before and I can’t see that improving to be honest. Most are not verbally abusive, and for that I’m very grateful, but they’re obviously not happy with what we’re offering – and there’s no reasoning with them. You can explain till you’re blue in the face about resources, demand versus capacity, doctors going off sick, staff revolting (not all of them, but some of them definitely are!) and yet, they don’t care – or at least, they don’t appear to care. As my hubby will often say, as I’m having a bit of a rant (usually due to a hot flush), ”it’s all me, me, me”, and it doesn’t matter how many patients you have and how few doctors you’ve got, they don’t care – they just want what they want, when they want it and that’s that.

Many years ago I used to work with a GP who had an interest in astronomy and I asked him about lunar changes – I’d read something in a book about the moon being responsible for mood swings and the ‘werewolf effect’. He very kindly plotted the lunar changes over the course of a few weeks and lo and behold, we had absolute evidence that the mood swings in reception were entirely due to the new moon. I say ‘absolute evidence” – it was enough for me!!

As I write this, we’re late February and the promise of Spring is just around the corner. The nights are lighter for longer, meaning I’m not driving to and from work in the dark – this makes MY mood much brighter for sure!! But the bad weather doesn’t help anyone’s moods – and let’s face it, with the rain we’ve had, the flooding some places have experienced, the storms (Ciara and Dennis have now moved on to wreak havoc somewhere else), it’s a wonder anyone can smile about anything.

So, is the general feeling of doom and gloom just down to the weather and the time of year? Does the political landscape make a difference? Are we all sick of Brexit? Or are we just generally a lot more miserable? I appreciate we can’t all be ‘glass half full’ all of the time – but I’m getting fed up of the moaning and groaning…

My husband, as ex-forces, had a phrase which he used on much younger squaddies, some of whom had never been away from home before and were finding life in the Army tough. As he was berating them because their uniform wasn’t ironed well enough, or their barracks were untidy, he’d yell at them and then yell some more– it wouldn’t do any good, but he felt better for it, even if they didn’t.

I’d like to yell at some patients (and some colleagues!) and tell them that what they’ve got is better than more than half the country have got and they should be grateful. I’d like to pull them up by the bootstraps and say ‘get on with it” but of course, I can! That’s not quite the motivational speech I’m aiming for. I try and be upbeat and optimistic but sometimes I do fail.

If I’m feeling miserable and downtrodden and hard-done-by, if I’m feeling less than optimistic about the world, how on earth can I motivate others to be different?   There are times recently when I’ve driven into work thinking “is this all I’ve got to look forward to?”,”same s**t, different day” –  I’m sure we’ve all felt the same at time but by the time I’ve parked the car, I pull the corners of my mouth up, shout a bright and breezy “Good Morning” to all and sundry as I walk through the building (it’s like The Waltons sometimes – I appreciate younger readers won’t get that!) and then when I get into my office, I sit down, say “man up cupcake” to myself and hope it’s going to be better than yesterday.

Now I must go as I’ve just seen a small pig flying outside of my office window…

[Total: 18   Average: 4.5/5]
Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies

Practice Manager regularly ranting about the NHS. 35 years in Primary Care and still getting irritated by constant change for change sake!

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4 Responses to “Are we ALL getting a little more intolerant? – by Nicola Davies”
  1. Avatar
    Clair Says:

    Thanks for this, Nicola, made me chuckle.

    I am long past regularly hearing about how appalling I am as a manager as a patient had to wait 20 minutes on the phone, or a GP over-ran by 40 minutes. How ironic it is that I send DNA letters to non-attenders but we don’t scold ourselves when WE cancel appointments (for the valid reasons you gave). How it’s the PRACTICE that’s gone downhill over the last few years, not the lack of funding or the bureaucracy or the recruitment issues…

    Now the moaning minnies get a stock response from me how difficult things are for us and that we’d appreciate their support, which they can provide by contacting their MP to tell them how stretched their caring GP practice is. Bet they don’t take the time to write THAT letter….


  2. Avatar
    Kristina Says:

    Thank you, Nicola, it’s as if though you read my mind.
    … Must be the moon. And the weather 🙂


  3. Avatar
    GERRY Says:

    Nicola – a couple of more phrases for you – Dry your eyes Princess and Suck it up Buttercup, none of which I have actually used on my patients but its always been in my mind, but the best one as passed to me by some USMC guys I worked with before this job – Be polite and courteous to those you meet – but always have a plan in your mind how you’re going to kill them!! Sure makes some days work much better, that or I am borderline psychotic!! haha

    The problem is that all and sundry have taken on the attitude of “Entitlement” they are entitled to treatment (I have paid my dues you know) – that and no consideration for how processes work or any allowances for time – I believe these are things that requires Patient Education and from the highest echelons, not grass route.


  4. Avatar
    Lindsey Says:

    The challenge with patients is that they treat GP services in the same way that they treat Tesco or Amazon, as a service that they want to use. They don’t care what the practice’s problems are. They wouldn’t accept what they feel is poor service from any other provider, why should they accept it from their GP Practice. They are the patient/service user/customer and if the service doesn’t meet their expectations they are not happy.

    Sometimes its not always the patient’s fault though. How many practices really treat their patients like customers to give them exemplary customer service, keep them up to date with changes, always be looking for the latest technology or new way of working to make services better. How many practices regularly and genuinely do quality improvement activities to be innovators or early adopters or do they just wait to implement something with the majority or worse still as a laggard when they have no other choice.

    Patients and practices need to find the joy again, the joy of a good service received, the joy of a challenging yes, but rewarding career. Drag each other up by the bootstraps with positivity. the law of attraction says you get back the energy you put out. If you cant find inspiration in general practice despite the funding and the politics you’re looking in the wrong place!


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