W is for… Weight of a Wait

Scene 1Doctor ABC
A prominent busy specialist of the city.
OPD Timings : 5 pm to 8 pm

We reach the hospital at 4.10 pm, to get ourselves registered in the patient’s list.
Why, so early? Well, the unwritten rule is “first come first served”!
So, we wait and wait…5 pm turn to 5.30 pm and to even 6 pm and no sign of the doctor!! On questioning the attendant, it is known that 5 pm is the time for the patients but the doctor comes at 6 pm!!images (2)

Were we exasperated??

Fuming…we wait for some more time and finally the doc arrives at 6.20 pm!!
Though, we were the first patients in the list, we get to meet the doctor only at 6.35 pm!! Why?? Because, first the doc spends some time on the phone (a lot of smiles and some laughs were visible from the door, so certainly there was not an emergency patient at the other end!!) and then some more minutes with a colleague!!

Waiting for a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes!! (Or 1 hour and 35 minutes, if you think that we should have been there by 5 pm!!)

Scene 2

Doctor XYZ
The leading specialist of the town.
OPD Timings : 4 pm to 8 pm

I reach the clinic at 3.15 pm…to follow the rule of “FCFS”!
The attendant, mentioned No. 1 on my prescription and added “NP” against it.
I had visited the doctor, a day ago and had to meet him with the laboratory reports so that he could initiate the treatment.

The Doc arrived at 3.55 pm.  “Punctual”!! I smiled with satisfaction.

And the very next moment, visibly in pain and discomfort a patient arrived and went into the doctor’s room. I empathized with the patient and thought that she is right to go in first as her condition was grave.

When she came out, the attendant sent another patient who had come much after me.
I showed him my prescription which clearly stated my turn to see the doc as No. 1.
Coolly, he showed me the letters NP.
NP?? I asked. And in a patronizing tone, he explained, NP means Non-Payment patient. Since, I had paid the consultation fee a day before and this fee was valid for 5 days, hence, I was not to pay the doc that day and thus I was a NP!!
Which means that NPs are also NON-IMPORTANT PATIENTS for that day and they would be sent in a queue after every 2 Payment patients irrespective of the time they come in.

With frustration written boldly over my face, I fume at their management system.
Is it done??

How does it feel to be treated this shabbily by the doctors??
How do the patients with physical illness cope up with this long wait in the clinic?
Does this anxiety and stress in the waiting room worsen/deteriorate the condition, considering the fact that most of us go to a doctor when our illness is acute?

A friend’s mother refuses to go to her psychiatrist, because the disturbed behavior/condition of other patients in the waiting area upsets her immensely, thereby making her more vulnerable emotionally.

Why do doctors practice such practices??
Is it because they have an uncaring attitude….as long as the patients keep coming, why change?  Or is it because they distrust patients to respect the time of the appointment?

Why can’t we have better appointment system,  which would be beneficial for both the doctors and the patients. Or why can’t there be more value for the patient’s time too?

And both these suggestions do not need some hi-tech gadgets/equipment or money to implement.
I believe, the doctor is offering a service for which we are paying, hence the indifference to towards the patients should not be endured.

And patients are paying to the doctors to take care of their problems, and not to aggravate the same.
I guess, the weight of the wait in a waiting room, weighs downs the patient, which is truly weary !!

Have you experienced the pain of the wait in a doctor’s clinic?

Image courtesy: Google Images