By Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist
My son has been unwell all night with asthma. We’ve been up, using his medications, trying to keep him away from a hospital admission.
During this time, I’ve been obsessing about my patient list. What I really want to do is to cancel the list as I’m tired and would prefer to stay home with him. But, this is difficult to do.
I’ve had to cancel lists before at the last minute, almost always due to a family member becoming ill. It inconveniences so many.
Patients have often arranged time away from work and may have been waiting for the appointment. The reception staff have to start their morning frantically trying to reach as many of my patients as possible to let them know. Then, the question is where to fit these appointments that have to be rescheduled?
It’s understandable that my patients may get upset. A few even take it out on the reception staff (unfairly, as they are blameless). I can only apologise.
This time, I can’t cancel the list. I know one of the patients is travelling from 4 hours away, and there’s a couple of patients I can’t delay seeing. At 6.30am, I’ve already spoken to Amanda, our practice manager. We’re going to shorten the list by moving some of the patients scheduled at the end of the day. Hopefully, there’s enough time for these patients to make other plans and to not be so inconvenienced.
I’m sure all doctors face this problem and I wonder what they do? If you’re a patient, how do you feel when your doctor has to cancel your appointment at short notice?
Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health.
BJC Health provides a connected care multidisciplinary team philosophy to deliver positive lifestyle outcomes through a holistic approach to those with degenerative & inflammatory arthritis, tendon injury and lifestyle diseases. Our clinics are located in Parramatta, Chatswood and Brookvale. Contact us.
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