An Urgent Need For Details

, , , | Healthy | March 12, 2019

(In the UK, doctor appointments are generally booked in advance, although there are a few reserved for people who phone on the day for emergencies. The phone rings.)

Me: “Good morning, medical centre.”

Patient: “I’d like to make an appointment with a doctor, please.”

Me: “Okay, if it’s urgent, I can fit you in today, or if it’s not urgent I have an appointment in two days.”

Patient: “I don’t know if it’s urgent or not.”

Me: “Okay, well, if you give me a brief idea of what it’s concerning, I can help you decide.”

Patient: “It’s private. I’ll only discuss it with a doctor.”

Me: “Okay, fair enough. So, did you need an urgent appointment or can it wait a few days?”

Patient: “I’ve told you I don’t know if it’s urgent or not!”

Me: “As I’ve said, if you give me some idea of what it’s concerning—“

Patient: *interrupting* “It’s private! I’m not telling the receptionist!”

Me: “That’s fair enough but then I need you to tell me whether or not it’s urgent.”

Patient: “How many times?! I don’t know!”

Me: “Okay, I’ll give an example. If it’s just something like a sick note–”

Patient: *interrupting again getting increasingly angry* “I don’t need a sick note!”

Me: “It was just an example to help explain the difference between urgent and non-urgent appointments. If you don’t tell me which you need, I can’t book you in.”

Patient: “Well, how am I supposed to know if it’s urgent or not if you won’t tell me?!”

(They then hung up without ever having booked an appointment, or even given their name. I guess it wasn’t that urgent after all.)

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