I love the signs that find themselves adherent to various walls in GP surgeries. Some surgeries seem to manage without them, whereas other practices seem to use them as wall paper. Of course they are all there for a reason of some sort. I will give you a sample of some of those that i have seen
"any patients more than 10 minutes late for an appointment may not be seen"
"violence or aggression towards staff will not be tolerated"
"please switch off your mobile phone in the surgery"
Of course these are examples of signs which express some of the major problems or irritations that GPs face. There is no doubt that a few select signs can remind patients of their obligations – but if a whole wall is wall papered with signs they sort of lose their effect
Perhaps surgeries would be better placed drawing up a patients charter which patients are expected to sign before they can register
"As a patient of this practice i agree to –
- Turn up on time for appointments
- Let the practice know if I am unable to attend an appointment (prior to said appointment)
- Only request a home visit if i require to be seen and am only able to attend the surgery due to immobility caused by severe illness*
- Request home visits by 9am in the morning
- If i do have a home visit – before the doctor arrives - to switch off the TV, clear the house of smoke fumes, keep the hounds locked away and ensure the number of my house is clearly visible from the road
- Attend to my personal hygiene before presenting various parts of my body to be examined by a doctor
- Order prescriptions on time (ie 48 hours or more before they are due)
- Not expect miracles**
- Keep my children under control
- Not sell the medication I am prescribed
- Provide only decent wine or whisky or chocolate as presents at Christmas to my hard working GP
*examples of reasons that do not justify a home visit; awaiting a delivery (beit a dfs sofa or a baby), car broken down, bad weather
**examples of miracles that GPs are currently unavailable to perform on the NHS include; shortening hospital waiting times, reducing the caloric content of all the food you consume, getting various parts of your body enlarged or reduced, giving you a kick up the arse, making your spouse listen to you more and so on
By using such a charter practices could make patients aware of what is expected of them without affecting the feng-shui of their practices. Practices with too many notices not only risk hiding the important notices with overkill, but also too many messages simple gives the impression that not only are they struggling to cope with their workload and education of patients, but that they also are unhappy and negative persons – and of course we all know they are happy and enthusiastic caring individuals...or something like that
However i would like to share my all time favourite notice
"Only two complaints are allowed per consultation"
Really, that's impressive! I struggle to generate even one complaint per consultation – even on a bad grumpy day!