In part one I discussed some of the issues facing people in British Columbia when trying to find a new doctor. Now I am going to discuss my first attempt at signing on with a local doctor in Newton, BC.
A couple of neighbours recommended a doctor they had just signed up with and it’s only a quick walk away. Receiving a recommendation and for someone locally lifted up my spirits so we thought we would give it a go.
Initial Phone Call
We called the doctors office and the receptionist didn’t sound very happy at all. However, we did receive confirmation that a new doctor there was taking on new patients. She said we would need to come in to register then have an appointment to see if the doctor is “willing to take us on”. I asked myself, what is the acceptance criteria for being taken on by a doctor? It seems a little odd.
Visiting the Doctors Office
We got to the office and the outside looked very run down and dirty, well, I thought maybe its different inside…it wasn’t.
The reception area was drab, colours looked depressing, the carpet was dirty, the walls very much in need of a paint job as everything looked scuffed and run down. Not only that, it looked as though the photocopier had puked up over the walls with a ton of “don’t do this” messages, it was scary. In other words, it was a very depressing environment. This is completely opposite to our current doctors practice which is super clean, bright colours, a television, newspapers and magazines to read, cuddly toys for children and super comfy chairs.
We presented ourselves to the receptionist and she was gruff, rude, and unprofessional. She obviously took an instant dislike to us, maybe she wasn’t used to cheerful people, she told us to sit down. I’m not sure what was supposed to be going on, was she supposed to be handing us some paperwork to complete to register us with? After waiting around for 25 minutes she finally called us back just to take our health card numbers, to register us with, and registration was complete, it took about 2 minutes. I’m not sure why we had to wait for 25 minutes for just that to happen, maybe it was her way of putting people she didn’t like in their place.
Part of the workflow for registering a patient is to book an appointment to see the doctor, the receptionist never offered that. So, I had to ask for one, she appeared pretty put out about that but did book us in.
I initially thought that maybe the receptionist just doesn’t like gay people, but evidently she treats everyone in the same unprofessional manner.
While we were waiting I overheard a doctor become frustrated with the receptionist for losing a patients paperwork.
The Next Day
I thought about it over night and read reviews about the practice. They were pretty much the same as I had experienced; rude and unprofessional receptionist plus some other horrific problems with the doctors there I won’t go into here. I didn’t really want to be treated like that again so I phoned them up, cancelled the appointment and told them to un-register me. At the time of the call she cut me off mid-sentence to put me on hold, I heard her mobile phone go off in the background.
I was so upset about how we were treated I wrote a “private and confidential” letter to the doctor. I suspect the receptionist will intercept it and dispose of it, and even if the doctor does get it I can’t imagine that they would reply.
When I think about patients vising doctors, especially those who are vulnerable, maybe suffering from chronic conditions, even mental health issues, the last thing that should happen is being presented by rude and unprofessional health care staff. Doctors and their staff should present a safe and welcoming environment for people seeking help, definitely not face what we experienced. We can find a better doctor’s practice than this.
Health care facilities are facing huge demands and pressure at the moment but I still think it doesn’t take much to retain a professional demeanor, which this doctors practice lacked.
Onto the next one!