One of Dr Grumble's more boring jobs is reading the referral letters from GPs. They are mostly very good and definitely better on average than from his hospital colleagues. GPs have a better idea of what Dr Grumble needs to know.
The job of reading the referral letters is an important one. Sometimes Dr Grumble is really not the best person for the problem so he can write back to the GP and suggest somebody better or he can divert the letter to a colleague. He will allocate each patient to the best clinic for their problem. Some patients who appear to have nothing much wrong with them will take a long time and need a long appointment. Others with obvious pathology can be dealt with speedily. It is possible to redirect referrals that have arrived via Choose and Book but it is not easy. The letter system works well usually but reading a large pile can be boring. But you do have to keep your wits about you and occasionally you spot something interesting.
Today it was the letter from the Highgrove Surgery that took Grumble's interest. For a moment Dr G thought the Prince of Wales might be heading to his clinic but it wasn't to be. But he was amused to see at the very top of the referral before anything else in big letters:
Please note: We do NOT use the Choose and Book system.
This blunt sentence was obviously designed to make a point so at the end of the day Dr G decided he would take a look at the Highgrove Surgery website. It's a very nice website. There is something very frank and straight about it. Somebody there must have a bit of spark. Dr Grumble particularly liked this sentence which comes after an apology for blunt treatment at reception:
We all actually really like our patients!
There is something endearing about this. Essentially they say that they are a bit of a stroppy lot at times but they are under pressure and can get a bit tetchy so please forgive them. It's very honest and much less annoying than the standard cloying and insincere how-can-I-help approach. Or for that matter the world-class performance offered these days by, well, almost everybody.
It seems that you are a whole lot freer as a GP than a hospital doctor. GPs can say what they think. If managers annoy them they come out with it. Dr Grumble has to doff his cap to these people. His job is at stake. There is no way Dr Grumble could write on a website intended for patients that he had a special interest in 'annoying PCT managers'.
As it happens, of course, Dr G works with such high calibre world class managers that he actually wants to doff his cap to them. Of that there is no doubt. The point is only that he would have to kowtow even if they were not up to standard. But they are. Most definitely.