IMHO- they have no INKLING of timekeeping! How many times have you been to see a doctor and had to wait until he could see you- even with an appointment made weeks and sometimes months in advance. Do you know that most GP’s charge about R10/minute? Check your account! So a fifteen minute appointment can cost you (or your medical aid) anything from R150 to R170 or more, depending on the doctor (this is the rock). Specialists charge even more and usually want cash up front, no less. Here’s where I’m coming from: Damien’s ADHD doctor is about three quarters of an hours travel away from us and we go there once a month. Damien’s appointments are always made a month in advance and I always make sure I arrive on time or a little early- because (and here’s the hard place) if a doctor calls you and you are not in the waiting room, they assume you are not coming and take the next patient waiting- so you lose your slot. But in the thirty odd months we have been seeing this particular doctor, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he has been on time. We ALWAYS have to wait for anything up to an hour. Twice I have asked his receptionist to go to him and ask if he knew we were there and waiting and if he could speed things up a little. When I did that he apologized profusely and went on to explain that the people he was talking to had some or other problem and they were arguing and blah-blah-blah-bloody-blah. My argument is this: we are paying a fortune to see this doctor so if the fifteen minutes he has scheduled for appointments isn’t enough he should make the allotted time a little more, right? If I know I need to discuss something with the doctor that may take a little longer- I tell the receptionist so she can see if a longer appointment is necessary. So if the doctor is with a patient and he sees the appointment may start running longer, can he not ask that person to come back a little later because there are people waiting their turn in his reception area twiddling their thumbs and trying to look busy reading five year old magazines. Then yesterday my baby sister C needed to get a second opinion on her shoulder and elbow that she hurt in the accident a little over a week ago. Her appointment was for 9h15, the doc eventually called her at 9h50! Then it was off the x-ray place. They don’t MAKE appointments so that was another hour we spent there- luckily they have satellite TV as well as the ancient magazines. Then it was back to the GP with the x-ray results, and unbelievably that was over fairly quickly! All in all I was away from work for three hours! And this is perfectly normal and accepted- doctors take long, right?! Okay. So let’s say a GP works eight hours in a day- that’s 32 patient slots at R150/ slot! Lets round it off to about R5K a day- will it really be such a problem to make the appointments a little longer and so see less people in a day? Am I out of line here? Why do we sit back and take it? Doctors always seem to me to have the attitude that they’re doing you a huge favour by seeing you so you must maar put up with their “little quirks” (and you can ask anyone- most doctors behave the same way). Why should we? We are paying for a service that- judging by the people I’ve spoken to- we are not receiving! In essence it doesn’t matter whether you go to a free clinic or to a private doctor with an appointment- you KNOW it’s going to take a while! We joke about it- when someone says they’re going to the doctor you sort of roll your eyes and say “good luck!” I think its pathetic!
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