Friday, 28 January 2011

Grovelling, Sycophancy, And A Potential Flaw In Andrew Lansley's Plans.

Well, if today is anything to go by, there's no way these NHS Reforms are going to work. Not that I should care, given that I probably won't have a job in politics for much longer, thanks to those idiotic GPs at Silverwood Surgery. Talk about victim culture and people not wanting to take responsibility!

The Boss is already in the office when I arrive this morning, and he's opened all the mail. He hasn't managed to lose any of it, either - more's the bloody pity.

"Molly!" he shouts from the Oprah Room, as soon as he hears me enter the outer office. "Get in here - now!"

Honestly, sometimes I could swear he thinks I'm ten years old. I deliberately take my coat off as slowly as possible, and spend some time turning on my PC and finding a notepad and pen, before I finally join him. I'm trying to teach him that manners maketh man, but it's been a pretty thankless task so far.

"Yes, Andrew?" I say. "Did you want to go through something with me? Or did you just want a coffee?"

"Bloody right I want to go through something with you," he says. "And the coffee can wait for once."

He glares at me, then thrusts a piece of paper into my hand.

"Read that," he says. "Then tell me what the hell you thought you were playing at? You've only gone and upset an entire GP practice."

"What?" I say. Probably a bit tremulously, as The Boss seems so angry that I'm a bit worried about his blood pressure. I'm sure the top of his head shouldn't be that red.

Andrew says nothing, just gestures at me to read the letter, so I obey. Though I can't believe what I'm reading - which is saying something, given the total lunacy of 50% of the mail we receive on any given day.

"But, Andrew," I say. "I didn't say that to Mr Franklin. I just told him what the hospital consultant said - that if Mrs Franklin felt her bunions had worsened significantly, then she should go and see her GP, who could advise the hospital if necessary."

"Well, that's obviously not what Mr F told the GP, is it?" says The Boss. "You bloody idiot. You've pissed off every doctor in the whole practice. Look - they've all signed the letter of complaint, individually!"

My legs suddenly feel a bit wobbly, so I sit down on the sofa next to Andrew, and stare hard at the letter, as if its content is going to have altered since the first time I read it. It hasn't.

The letter still accuses me of irresponsibility, and tells Andrew that the Practice does not appreciate its doctors being made "apologists for systems created by politicians". For God's sake.

"I did explain that it's what the GP writes in the referral to the hospital that often affects the priority that a patient is given on the waiting list," I say. "Which is true, though I didn't put it in the way they're saying I did. And, anyway, seeing as they're doctors, they must be able to tell that Mr F is a total nutter, who'd tell anybody anything to get what he wants."

Andrew doesn't say anything but I can feel that he doesn't give a damn whether I'm being unjustly accused or not. He just wants the problem solved - as usual. I'm so furious that I can't let it go, though, so I carry on regardless:

"So I would have thought that someone from the Practice would have phoned to ask me what I'd actually told Mr F before they kicked off like this, if only out of professional courtesy. That's what I would have done in their place," I say. "I always check my facts before I let loose."

I'm not sure if Andrew hears me or not, as I'm feeling a bit tearful and my voice may have wobbled a bit - I do wish irritation at injustice didn't always bloody well make me cry - but what I've said doesn't change his opinion, anyway.

"I don't care what your excuse is," he says. "I can't afford to have a vocal bunch of bloody doctors against me, so you will write to them today, and apologise. Grovel, in fact. And I want to see a copy of the letter before you send it off, so I can see whether this was only a one-off cock-up, or if you're as crap at your job as I've been hearing."

"From Vicky, I suppose," I say, as I stand and walk out of the room.

I sit at my desk, and type the most nauseatingly sycophantic apology ever written, while swearing furiously under my breath. And glaring at Vicky and willing all her hair to fall out.

Greg raises his eyebrows at me, but I'm still too cross to risk speech - so I just push the letter from Silverwood surgery over to him, together with a copy of my reply. He winces as he reads the sorry saga, then sucks in air through his teeth.

He's about to say something when the phone rings so, instead, he picks up the receiver with one hand, and scribbles something on a piece of paper with the other. Then he holds the note up for me to read.

"Total f*ckers," it says. Sometimes brevity is all it takes.

Greg's analysis makes me feel a lot better, so I'm much calmer by the time The Boss walks up to my desk. He doesn't speak to me, but just holds out his hand, presumably expecting the letter of apology. I wish a number of unpleasant health conditions upon him as I dump it into his palm.

"Right," he says, once he's read it. "Get it in the next post - I don't want this hanging around 'til the end of the day. Let's just hope it does the trick. I can't be doing with a posse of bloody GPs fomenting trouble in Northwick at the moment. They're far too damned articulate at the best of times."

"Oh, I should think they'll be too busy to worry about you," I say. "Seeing as they're going to be running the entire NHS if Andrew Lansley gets his way."

"They're going to find that a bit of a challenge, aren't they?" says Greg. "Seeing as they can't even handle justifying their diagnoses to their patients."

I don't know what Andrew says in reply, as I decide that now would be a very good time to go to the loo. And then to smoke three cigarettes in quick succession.

You'd think I'd want to avoid anything that might make me ill after today's experience - but every unhealthy drag feels like sweet revenge.

Smokers' logic is seriously warped. A bit like that of some GPs.

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