Monday, 9 January 2012

An open letter to a Doctors Receptionist.

Dear Doctors Receptionist

Today I have holiday  from work and typically am unwell, therefore I have had the need to call you to ask if I can come and see a doctor so he can make me better.  I honestly wish I had never bothered.

Firstly you ask me if I I'm ill.  Surely the fact that I'm calling you and asking for an appointment suggests I am.  I'd have thought that since you've been doing this job since the dawn of time you'd have noticed that its not just a coincidence that only sick people ring you.  I consider telling you this but I've played this game before.  You're in charge of this conversation, I have to whistle to your tune, my tonsils are quite literally now in your hands.

So I tell you I'm ill and I ask to see a Doctor, I'm even doing my best poorly voice.  Straight away I can tell you're suspicious.  It makes me wonder if you're briefed by the Doctors each morning before you start work.

(I imagine you and your receptionist colleagues sat, pens poised for the days briefing as a straight backed GP marches amongst you, barking orders)

'RIGHT! Lately we have noticed an increase in healthy patients turning up in our office.  These people are in perfect health and they are 'stealing' appointments and you lot, YOU are allowing it.  So from now on take no-one's word for anything, unless they can prove it to you they must not be allowed an appointment.  They need to get past you.  I'M RELYING ON YOU HERE, EACH AND EVERY GOD-DAMN ONE OF YOU!!!'

OK, I probably imagined that but here I am, still waiting for you to offer me an appointment.  I can hear you banging on your keyboard and having a chat with your colleagues. Finally you speak to me:

'You can see a doctor on 2nd March at 9.15am'
I nearly choke........that's 6 weeks away. 
'That's 6 weeks away!!! 6 weeks!!!! I won't be ill by then' I splutter
'Then you won't need to see a Doctor, will you?', you retort, your voice is still dripping with honey. I know your type, you're like one of those super cute cuddly toys, you look and sound sweet but your head is held on with a 6 inch steel spike which could have my eye out in a crack.

I consider shouting at you, but I don't. I've been here before remember, I know it won't do me any good.  This is similar to hostage negotiation, one false move and I can kiss goodbye to an early appointment.  There's nothing left for it, I'm going to need to beg.

'Please'  I'm begging you now, I am on my proverbial knee's. I explain again that I need to see a Doctor, I know what's coming and I'm right.  You ask me what's wrong with me, in that conspiratorial voice that suggests if I tell you you'll get me an appointment but I don't want to tell you, yet I'm not sure I have a choice. I consider making something up, something so revolting that you'll regret you asked, but I know you, I know how your operate, you're a professional, nothing can turn your stomach, you're like a machine.

I end up whispering 'I'd rather not say'.

We're nearly at the end now, you know you've won, I know you've won, there's only one question left to ask.  You ask it.


There is no way to answer this.  You know that.  You've kept up your part of the bargain and offered me an appointment (albeit in 2014), you've tried to help me out (tell me what's wrong, I'll try and get you in) and now you're asking if its an emergency.

I consider saying the following things to you:

'I've woken up today and found I am suddenly fluent in Persian. 'I ave noo eeenglishh'

'I was chopping onions, slipped and accidentally disemboweled myself'

'I took off my polo neck and surprisingly my head came off with it, I've tacked it back on but I'm not confident its secure'

Obviously I say nothing of the sort (there is no point, you'd still ask me if I thought I needed an emergency appointment)

I just thank you for your time and hang up. I'll take my chances at the walk in centre.

Yours sincerely



  1. Right, I am ROFL! No I really am, I'm not just saying that! Well, perhaps not on the floor, but across my desk anyway. I actually snorted! You should write scripts for Michael McIntyre! I can just see him doing this one.
    Mammasaurus put me onto you and I'm glad she did (what a lovely blogger). I write the Newbie Tuesday column for Britmums and I am sooooo giving you a mention for this post. Have subscribed - hope there's more to come!

  2. Gah! I can't find your twitter id, can you tweet me @ActuallyMummy Have just retweeted this so hopefully someone will notice your incisive take on those mad women that wield all the power!

  3. I know this all too well! I have been there and it is even worse when it is a child you are trying to book an appointment for. I actually give up now and wait till after 6pm to go to the out of hours GP. They have much more time to talk to you as well. Hope you are feeling better now too!

  4. You are FUNNY! Funnnnneeeee. And clever. I am your new stalker.

  5. Enjoyed this very much. You have a lovely witty turn of phrase. And I AM a doctor's receptionist! :)