Posted by: Witch Doctor | January 28, 2010

Rationing consultation times and return appointments


It just so happens that The Witch Doctor was shown a calendar that hung from the wall in another old decrepit witch’s spell pantry during the whole of 2009.

This calendar was not a reminder of birthdays, anniversaries or a diary of events that happened during the year.

No. It was a solely a reminder of the dates that The Old Decrepit Witch had to visit general practitioners, practice nurses, hospital doctors, specialist nurses, chiropodists, opticians, dentists (she still has her own teeth!) and pharmacists.

It is a health calendar that the patient created – a simple reminder of all healthcare appointments The Old Decrepit Witch was given during 2009. All the appointment cards were neatly pinned to each page of the calendar. Without it she would have forgotten to keep some of these appointments and got herself into an awful muddle.

It has to be said The Old Decrepit Witch is not one of the worried well, she does not consider herself a “client” of the health care system and she does not have a vestige of health neurosis in her makeup. She would much rather ignore all of the medical profession and all the professions related to medicine. Sometimes she thinks they are all a bit of a pest. However, she suffers from multiple chronic conditions that often accompany ageing, and so she is told everything must be monitored and she must keep taking the prescribed medication.

Because of her chronic conditions she had 74 visits to healthcare professionals during the year. Yes 74. None were initiated by her.

So, she obediently trundles up and down and along the road to the various health care providers.

She even meets friends at the health care providers’ premises. They chat among themselves about their various conditions, their hospital appointments, who has died and what of, because there is nothing much else to chat about now.

The Old Decrepit Witch is very grateful for the NHS because she doesn’t know what she would do if she had to pay for 74 health care encounters a year that were arranged for her but she often wonders whether one member of the health care team could have performed a proportion of this work in a single visit? For example, could a GP not bleed The Old Decrepit Witch rather than have her make a separate appointment on another day to see the (excellent and friendly) phlebotomist and might the GP also have examined her feet at the same time?

When The Old Decrepit Witch visited the NHS chiropodist / podiatrist as instructed this is what she told me happened. Her toe nails were needing cut. She asked the podiatrist / chiropodist if she could cut her toe nails because she finds this difficult. No, that was not possible. She would need to make another appointment for this but it might take some time. It seems the purpose of this appointment was to examine her peripheral pulses, provide her with a mirror so she could look underneath her feet and advise her to put cream on her feet and lower legs every day but not between her toes.

Knowing this particular Old Decrepit Witch very well, I would think it is pretty unlikely she would ever look in this mirror or put cream on her feet.

Her arthritic spine means she can barely reach her feet and she can’t see very well.

She did, however, make an appointment elsewhere to have her toe nails cut privately and continues to do so.

Now, it seems that it is going to get worse. There is talk of even more rationing of the time a GP spends with a patient. There is talk about rationing the number of times a patient can see a hospital doctor. The Old Decrepit Witch fears that if this happens where she lives she will have even more appointments to see even more heath care professionals to do more of the little tasks competencies that used to be done by her GP and hospital doctor.

Sadly, The Old Decrepit Witch feels that her body and health secrets are being carved up among many health care workers none of whom she knows very well and that much of the time she has left in this world, is being gobbled up by the healthcare system.

She would much rather be pottering about in her spell pantry or tussie-mussie garden.

N.B. Yes the figure of 74 visits per annum is indeed true for this patient, but The Witch Doctor seems to be the only one contemplating this particular audit.

redapple.jpg a red apple ……………………

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© Dlundin |

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