Monday, April 28, 2008


I have just been described as "a lovely bit of stuff" by a female patient*. To my face.

So how should one deal with this sort of thing? Complaints are dealt with in a structured way, utilising our Practice's complaints procedure as a first step. The huge majority are dealt with in this way, insofar as no further action is taken by the complainant. Presumably most are satisfied by the resolution of the problem. Sometimes the complaints are trivial, other times more serious. Some are patently vexatious, though they are few and far between thank goodness. All complaints are dealt with as significant events in our practice, which effectively means we try and learn from them. That sounds rather "cardy" (by which I mean "cardy-wearing, leather elbow patches, touchy-feely") but generally there is something which we could change. At the very least we discuss it (partners, practice manager and if appropriate other staff). All the details are recorded and kept.

I sometimes think, though, that we don't deal with compliments as robustly as we might. I receive compliments fairly often in the form of thanks (for doing my job!). Sometimes, especially around Christmas I receive small gifts, often of the imbibing variety. Soemtimes, I receive letters or cards. I keep the cards. A few years ago I put them in my appraisal folder as I thought they might help show that my relationships with patients contributed to the evidence that the GMC should continue to register me. I no longer do that. I now keep them in a different folder, for my own benefit. I don't look at them often but I know they are there. Perhaps we should be logging all of these episodes as we do with complaints. That seems a little excessive but I suppose it would allow a veriafiable balance against the complaints.

But there is a part of me that feels that doing so might cheapen the intentions behind the gestures.

As for the ribald comment I have just been both the subject and recipient of, well, I take it as its intended and wink.

*Ok, she's 74 and partially sighted...

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Ohhh, Dr Brown, you made me laugh out loud.

You have to beware of oldies like me - we can get out of hand at times!

(ps at one time I lived in Rodmill Drive, and worked at Eastbourne Hospitals NHS Trust) - but don't tell people that.