What from your surgery would you throw in?
Now, now – Julie on reception is not allowed (though we’d all like to at times wouldn’t we!).
I’ve been asked to go first, “PM Polly”, James said – “of everything that you work with – what is it you’d most like to get rid of?”
I didn’t have to think of it more than a fraction of a second because I am yet to understand the survival of this oddity. This eccentric misfit. This fish out of water. This square peg in a round hole. I often ask why it is still here? Why should it be trusted? This oddball. This maverick.
Of course I talk of – the fax machine.
I feel, still, relatively new to general practice. Only joining as a practice manager seven years ago. The most surprising thing during my induction (by induction I mean a white board that had three lines written on it, QOF, GP quarterly payments and EXETER – I hadn’t the foggiest idea what any of them meant) – anyway, the most surprising thing during my first few days in general practice was the prominence, the importance, the prestigiousness of the illustrious – fax machine.
The fax machine, not just used for the occasional ‘hope it gets there and the paper hasn’t run out’ kind of communication. No. The fax machine in general practice is one with a puffed out chest, one of dominance and supremacy. The fax machine clearly won the jousting contest with the email, the telephone, the internet, the electronic referral, social media, Skype and even texting.
The fax machine is the chosen way to communicate. The most intimate. The most important. The most crucial. The most sensitive information in general practice. The fax machine! The fax machine that runs out of paper ALWAYS when the most important fax is due to come through. The fax machine that will not communicate to its kinswoman – that it did not in fact receive crucial information from her. The fax urgently sent to advise Mr Roberts needs a visit on Monday morning gives little consideration to the ink declining, ink fading, ink evaporating within the centre of it’s plastic physical structure.
The fax machine is the most careless, unreliable, untrustworthy piece of machinery and it does not have place in 2019. In 2019 we have emails that send information over to its recipient in a split second. Emails that enable scanned photographs and text to arrive at its destination without the need for squinting or deciphering smudged lines. Emails that can generate a receipt upon delivery and upon being read. Emails that do not rely on hope. Emails that do not rely on Julie being bothered to change the toner.
Can we just confine the fax machine to Room 101 forever? Seriously, please! What would you put in?