Thursday, May 10, 2012


Belief can be oh so wrong at times. I was surprised to get this in the mail (copied verbatim):

Dear Nilesh,
Over these years, as your Registered GP at Epsom Medical Care, I believe our relationship has grown in the form where you have continued to bestow your trust in my abilities and I have reciprocated with sound medical advice....
I stop there because of the word "believe". Wow! In the first instance, I'm able to book an appointment under the name Nevyn at this practise - I listed it as my preferred name. The grammar of the letter gets progressively worse.

But secondly, I have not visited this doctor in a long time. Years. I would rather go to a local A&E (Accident and Emergency) and be seen by a stranger rather than go this particular practitioner. Why?

  • When it turned out I had a piece of glass in my knee he referred me on to someone else (so I was told - I was never actually given their details) - who never called. He never followed up on it. I removed the piece of glass myself using a pair of eyebrow plucking tweezers despite his insistence that it was horribly complicated and that I needed a specialist.
  • During a consultation, I pointed a lump near one of my armpits (it's still there). I was told that the consultation was only for the issue I had primarily come in for and that I would have to make another appointment to have that seen to.
I'm determined that I am going to write a letter back to this practitioner and point out just how wrong his belief is.

But this brings up another question. Why am I registered as a client of this practitioner? Have you ever watched Sicko? Another Michael Moore infotainment film about the lack of socialised healthcare in America.

There's a downside to socialised healthcare. As much as I point America out as capitalism gone oh so horribly wrong (trust in the greedy/market) there's always some interesting counterpoint. In hospitality and the use of tips, those serving you are doing their best to earn those tips in order to make a living whereas we, in a lot of cases, get lousy service because tips aren't essential for a someone in hospitality to make a living. Of course, my argument is that it is wrong to exploit people in that way. If they're doing a job, they should get paid for that job.

But in terms of healthcare, they're limited only by dollar signs. Here, the concern is still money, but it's about cutting costs. If everyone is paying exactly the same amount, there is no incentive to provide great healthcare. Good healthcare maybe though I would argue my experience shows that good healthcare is a bit hit and miss.

At one stage I was away on holiday and, being a mild asthmatic, needed an inhaler. I went to a clinic, wheezing, asking if I could make an appointment in order to get a script for an inhaler. No can do. The doctor is all booked up and I wasn't registered with that doctor. The receptionist didn't look in the slightest bit apologetic or sympathetic.

I'm of the opinion that we have it very wrong in New Zealand. Yes, we have socialised healthcare, just like any other first world, and most other, countries with the exception of America. A few years ago someone decided you could only take full advantage of this if you registered with one practitioner or practise. I've never been keen on doctors. For the most part, I find the whole practise to be like going for a $10 haircut. In, wait quite a while, seen to in the shortest possible time (I've probably spent more time with nurses than doctors), and out again. Anything long term? Not a chance. Heaven forbid I end up with a long term illness.

Oh - avoid the St Lukes Medical Centre - apparently where this practitioner is moving to. Needless to say, it's very unlikely I'll be moving my "business" there.

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