Some things in General Practice really make me feel used and abused!

I recently had a short break for study in beautiful New Zealand. It was nice to tack three days of walking and climbing onto the end of it without small children.

I got back to work to a waiting ream of letters. One set of correspondence really got me a bit cranky, a simply titled request for medical history report from an insurance company. In the first letter, in bold,

Please be aware that the finalisation of your patient’s insurance application is dependent upon your timely completion of this report

That was fine, expect I hadn’t seen the said patient since 2010 so I don’t know if the patient is really mine anymore despite their election that I am their GP.

I noted that the recommended fee was $70.

There was five pages of questions to answer. That would probably take 30 to 40 minutes of looking at their notes to complete. And to be fair to the patient may require a consultation.

I was instructed to print clearly and legibly (in bold) and do not leave questions unanswered (in bold and underlined) That was getting a little bit patronising.

An accompanying authorisation to release someone’s private medical information has been signed by presumably the patient in question. I wonder how many would actually check with the patient to ensure that this is genuine.

A week latter (whilst I was still away) the insurance company sent me a reminder.

As doctor’s, we understand the time pressures and competing demands being confronted in modern medical practice and that these may lead to a delay for a valid and acceptable reasons. However, the finalisation of your patient’s insurance application is dependent upon your timely completion of this report” (the last sentence in bold)

So what happened to acceptable reasons. Now the hackles a little get raised.

Firstly, the letter has not signed by a doctor so “as doctors” seems quite ingenuous.

And secondly, I think whole statement is patronising.

The final letter arrives a week later and I am back to work. I am now told my report is overdue! Am I back at school?

But what really gets me annoyed is the request to have the report finished in 2 days or “arrange time this weekend to compete your patients report

Well, I am sorry “this weekend” I am not on call, I am spending quality time with my children and wife, sanding back a deck chair and possibly chopping the head off a goose and plucking it for roast dinner. What I am specifically not doing, is writing a medical report. And I told Mr case manager thus. I am yet to hear back from them.

Am I bad?


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