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by Mary Mippins
21 July 2008

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Summonsed to court? Not sure I can be bovvered …

In the first of a new regular series, practice manager Mary Mippins (not her real name!) recalls the highs and lows of her episodic surgery life …

What a week!

Two complaints, one suicide, three deaths and a locum that turned up so late his surgery had almost ended! Then he declared he didn’t “do” computers … I can relate to the last bit, but I’m not paying the agency a penny.

Spent most of the day working out a rota for extended hours. Gave up after several brave attempts to please everybody most of the time so decided I’d please myself instead. Now the partner who doesn’t “do” visits gets to do two twice a week. Who says we can’t get our own back?

I did a morning stint on reception after two members of staff went off sick on me, not long after I’d broken the news that they’d have to work one late night each to fit in with the extra sessions the doctors were doing. Two refused point blank, one said she’d think about it and the others just keep whispering in little huddles whenever my back is turned. I don’t think I’m going to be top of their Christmas card list this year, somehow. But, in the immortal words of Catherine Tate, am I bovvered?

Bracing myself for the onslaught, I picked up the phone. A patient rang to say she had just been told she’d got something called Helicopter Pylon and wanted to know if it was dangerous. Another wanted to book a “fast” blood test as she’d been told she couldn’t eat before it. Another one rang asking for a visit for her husband and, yes, I admit I turned into the receptionist from hell and lectured her on her timing (it was after 12 o’clock) and how she should have rung before 10.30am. Brief silence. Then she apologised and said she couldn’t ring then, because he’d only just fallen off the roof. Forget the visit, love, I’ll phone the ambulance.

Had an interesting meeting with one of the nurses, who thinks we need a meeting to discuss what to do at their meetings. Couldn’t think of a thing to say that she wouldn’t take offence to, so gave up and asked her to clear out the stock cupboard instead. She was suitably unimpressed and stomped off in a huff to join the militants on reception. She is now Huddle Supremo, and the stock cupboard remains a tip.

A policeman turned up to see me after lunch. They had finally tracked down one of our patients after six months of trying, and had charged him with threatening behaviour (he’d threatened to kill me several times before I lost patience and had him ejected from the building).

Anyway, the nasty little toe-rag pleaded not guilty, and apparently I have been summonsed to court as a witness for the prosecution – bang in the middle of my holiday. My foreign holiday. The only holiday I have had in 10 months.

They say if I don’t go I may be arrested, so interestingly I may be up before the judge alongside Mr Angry. Am I bovvered? Yes I am. But I’m still going on my hols. So if I’m not back in print the next time, you’ll know where to find me.