Friday, January 08, 2010

So where did everybody go?

Even readers far from these shores might have noticed that Dear Old Blighty in general, and Ambridge in particular, have been experiencing a little local difficulty with the weather. Here it hit on Tuesday, and shows little sign of clearing up until well in to next week. The result has been chaos on the roads, dire prognostications over our ever more fragile supply chain for simple necessities like fresh veg and gas as well as grit for the roads. Oh, and a sudden fall in demand for our services.

On any given day our surgery will offer fifty plus "emergency" appointments for use that day only and for urgernt need. And on any given day most of these will be filled. Not so this week. Indeed fewer than half that number have been required. So either everybody has suddenly got better, has gone elsewhere or has revised their opinion of what "emergency" means. I'm guessing it's the latter. No, I'm sure it's the latter-- after all we're all guilty of doing the same when it suits us.

Working in hospitals in the 80s it was apparent when there was a major sporting event everybody stopped wanting urgent attention. I worked over the Live-Aid weekend, and at least one Royal Wedding, and for the hours those events were on screen life in hospital became very quiet. The same used to happen when blockbuster movies were first broadcast on TV, but in these days of mutliple channels and instant DVD release that seems no longer to happen.

It's not particularly surprising that events, be they popular or merely inclement, affect our behaviour, but I am fascinated at the extent to which they can alter our perception of "urgency".


BenefitScroungingScum said...

My current concept of 'urgent' is focused solely upon my urgent need not to end up with a broken hip! I suspect it's an urgent priority for lots of people atm.
It's fascinating how people become so much more resilient when they can't access services quite so easily, or don't want for the type of reasons you've described. Shame that resilience disappears so quickly though..
PS: Thanks for your helpful advice re Oxycontin Dr J, Happy New Year!

Doctor Jest said...

BendyGirl-- Hey. Have a hob nob for being first commenter of the first post of the New Year. Hope the Oxy' thing is progressing OK. The thing that really got me on Tuesday was that two of the poor souls who *did* make it in were both well over 80 and both had dense paralysis after strokes.

They're a tough old breed that generation. Hitler couldn't get them and nor will a "light dusting of snow" it seems. I'm dailyy humbled by my punters, and none more so than these two. That they only came for med review was a bit bonkers, but there you have it.

Imogene said...

Childbirth; I can imagine that might constitute an 'emergency'. My sis-in-law was airlifted to hospital one week before her due date when we were snowbound for a week in 1999 (no, this isn't a regular occurrence in my part of CH - in fact it was for the first time in most people's lives). Anyway, good job she was; nephew was born a day after she was admitted to hospital.

So be glad that the highly pregnant women are staying at home and not beating a path to your door. ;-)

(Comment slightly off-topic, but there you are - this is what your post reminded me of.)


PS. Oh so bad I missed out on the NY's hobnob, but I guess I'll live ~pout~

StorytellERdoc said...

As hard as it is to work the holidays over here in the states, they are usually quiet days for the reasons you stated.

Interesting post, well done.

I'll be following...

Doctor Jest said...

imogene-- no need to pout, you too can have a hob nob. In fact since I have a virtually limitless supply how about a free hob nob with every comment throughout January! Yes, why not indeed. Enjoy! as they say somewhere or other.... ;-)

storytellER-- why thank you again. Are you familiar with the delights of the hob nob at all, if not you're about to be.

Nutty said...

Happy New Year! (It's ok, I'm not after a hobnob. I've just had a tooth out and don't want crumbs in the socket.)