Sunday, 23 March 2008

That's MR Patient To You, Doctor

I'm astonished! Staggered! Amazed! Sadly, despite my most heartfelt desire, Gordon Brown-Trousers has not resigned (yet), but the Telegraph contains an almost equally unbelievable story - it seems that the British Medical Association has had a good idea!

Unlikely as it may seem, the medics' talking shop best known for its standard response of "it'll adversely affect patient care y'know," followed by "No! NO! NEVER. We'll go on strike... Oh, go on then, if you insist..." when faced with a novel suggestion has come up with one of its own. Well, ok, not actually come up with. But it has, at least, been paying attention to the thousands of patients who really, really don't like medical staff addressing them by their first names.

And, having finally noticed that we don't like it, they're urging nurses to stop doing it. About bloody time too! The medical profession is all-to-ready to forget that we, the public, pay its wages, and the respect appropriate from a public servant to their master is very definitely due to us from them. Never mind all the bowing and scraping and begging to make an appointment with them, they should be obsequiously grovelling to us as they beg to be allowed to cure our every ague!

But, before I get carried away with this (admittedly appealing) concept, I can't help noticing that the BMA doesn't seem to be saying anything about first name terms to doctors - it's just nurses who get to demonstrate respect, according to their worldview. And, whilst that explains a lot about doctors, it won't do. Doctors, too, are public servants, and must act accordingly. I don't expect my bin man (sorry, council recycling and finance sink operative) to indulge in chirpy banter as he carts away last week's pizza boxes, and I don't want my doctor to be metaphorically grubbing through that garbage and telling me what I should / shouldn't be eating, drinking, smoking etc either.

They should be doing the job they're very well paid for, not setting the world to rights on my (and other patients') time - they can do that after work, if they feel so inclined, just as long as they remember who pays their wages.

Billy Seggars.

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