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Cut Me Some Slack


For the past couple of weeks my right ear has been blocked up with a plug of wax. It isn’t the first time but normally it clears naturally after a few days. This time, it has persisted even with ear drops being pressed into service and so, today, I went to see my GP after making an appointment earlier this week.

It was very impressive that, rather than having to wait until my official start time, I was seen almost straight away (I’d arrived a few minutes early) and I felt confident in how the doctor handled the process of checking out my story. He took a look in both ears with his otoscope and confirmed that, yes, the right one is blocked with a plug of wax and the left one is also quite waxy.

However, it was disappointing that, rather than being able to deal with it there and then (when I rang up I’d explained the problem and expected that I would be getting my ear syringed) I now have to go back next week for the clean up operation. I don’t know how long the syringing takes but is it really more efficient to require a second appointment for what must be a very routine procedure than to do it on the spot?

I’m sure the problem is that this is what the protocols dictate. A few extra minutes on the consultation to do the job himself, let alone having nurse on hand to pick up such tasks would require the system to run with some slack rather than held tight and pulled tighter still. I wish the politicians could muster up the will to stop fiddling and allow the healthcare professionals to create a service that positively serves the needs of the patients rather than creating these absurdities. It might be more efficient on paper but I’m not convinced that holds up in a wider analysis.

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