Thursday 11th November 1993 Morning coffee break 12:15
Dr Lewis came into the staff room, looked at her watch, sighed loudly and sat down heavily.
“Well,” she said, I have reached that uncomfortable, final stage of my pregnancy when almost everything is beginning to annoy me?”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Andrea Jones as she got up to make some coffee.
My Dad nodded sympathetically. He could still vividly remember those last weeks of Mum’s pregnancies.
“It’s ten minute appointments, today!” exclaimed Dr Lewis. “ I really despair of them, Desmond,” she said.
“We only had 6 minutes when I qualified, Lois.”
Dr Lewis ignored this. “A ten minute appointment is fine if you’ve got a cold or a sore throat or a touch of cystitis but it’s no good for a proper medical problem. My first patient this morning had some very odd neurological symptoms. It took me ages! Then I saw Hugh Parry who sounds like has almost certainly got lung cancer. Jack Davies is still complaining bitterly of feeling tired but now admits that he is depressed. Mary Jones has had another relapse of her severe anxiety. After that, I did three quick pill checks and a medication review. Carys Lloyd was next. She came about her back but burst into tears. She and her husband have separated. He has been having an affair. Dafydd Grey was feeling fine but his blood pressure was very high. I saw two children with temperatures and Alice Hogan whose asthma has been playing up. Cheryl Lane has started drinking heavily again. My last patient was poor Richard Owen. He is deteriorating. It took him 3 or 4 minutes just to get into the consulting room and a similar time to get dressed after I had finished examining him.”
“No wonder you finished so late,” said Andrea Jones.
“I feel we are doing these patients a disservice,” Dr Lewis continued. “If you go to see your solicitor or your accountant, you get at least half an hour. If you are seeing your doctor about a potentially life threatening problem, you get ten minutes. It’s ridiculous.”