A young man, not feeling too great, has a nice face, decides to try to attend to his illness by calling his doctors. It’s Monday morning.
Man: Hello, I’d like to make an appointment.
Receptionist: Right what we normally do is not make an appointment but ask the doctor to call you instead.
Man: Oh right.
Receptionist: I’ve got your details so let me see when the next telephone appointment is instead… there’s one free at 9.10am on Wednesday.
Man: Wednesday. In two days time.
Receptionist: Do you need to see anyone as a matter of urgency?
Man: No, I guess it can wait another two days.
Receptionist: Great well the doctor will call you at 9.10am on Wednesday.
Man: Great. Thanks.
Cut to Wednesday morning. The young man leaves his desk and goes to a quiet room to await the doctor’s call. The times is around 9:09am.
Man (thinks): Let’s give him a window of five minutes. I can’t leave my desk for too long, so five minutes is sufficient waiting time before dismissing this as the joke that it seems to be turning into.
The time ticks away. 9:10am. 9:11am. 9:12am. 9:13am. 9:14am.
Man (thinks): I’m sure he’s just about to call.
Man (thinks): Well that was a waste of time. I better haul ass back to work.
The young man returns to his desk. The work phones are busy so he carries on answering the various enquiries and assisting where necessary. at 9:21am, in the middle of a conversation with a client, his phone starts to vibrate.
Man (thinks): Ah great. Great timing. Wonderful. If only I could express my dissatisfaction with this level of service with the client I’m currently talking to. I wonder if their surgery is an inept as this.
Voicemail. When work gets quiet the young man listens to the message.
Doctor: Hi Mr McIver, I’m sorry I’m a little later than arranged, if you still need to speak to me give me a call at the surgery.
Man (thinks): What? He didn’t even leave a direct number? I have to call the general number? Of course I still need to speak to him; I would’ve cancelled the appointment if I was flippin’ better!
Work gets busy again. There is not a time to return the call. Around 10:25 his mobile starts to vibrate again, same number, clearly the doctor trying again but he can’t stop to answer it due to work commitments. Ten minutes later, with a small break to his name, he steals away into a room and calls the general number. No voicemail the second time around.
Man: Hi, could I speak to Dr *******? I think I just missed a call from him.
Receptionist: Oh right. Let me see if he’s available… (brief pause) I’m sorry he doesn’t appear to be in his room. The only thing I can do is arrange another telephone appointment for him to try to call you again.
Man: You know what, I’m feeling so much better, so much much better I don’t know why I bothered calling…
Cue a series of head shakes and excessive tutting. The young man decides to visit the walk-in centre at the end of the week, because even though it will mean sitting in a room for two hours or more waiting to be seen this process makes more sense than the series of hoops he has to try to jump through just to speak to a doctor at his own surgery.