Thursday, January 04, 2007


Upon visiting my doctor this morning to obtain a repeat prescription I reflected, anew, on the facts that here there is no waiting for an appointment and no having to get past a military-trained receptionist. There is no receptionist! You just go to the surgery and wait your turn. There is a pile of numbered discs on a desk as you enter but no one bothers to take one. That would be a bit too much like organisation! I also think the Italians prefer the human contact of the conversational approach: you greet everyone who is there and then you establish who was the last person to arrive so that you know whom to follow. There is no sitting in order of arrival - heaven forbid! My doctor here is very affable, kind and caring and likes to have a good chat with his patients. There is no "five minutes per patient" target, as in some surgeries in Britain. This morning I was only the second to arrive but still found myself waiting 40 minutes, which I didn't mind at all. It was the little elderly gentleman next to me whose breathing was so laboured that I thought he might expire during the wait who seemed to running out of pazienza! "He's hearing confession in there, not doing a consultation", he remarked. When my turn came, I got my prescription, discussed politics and what we are both currently reading with the doctor, then, to my relief, emerged to find the little man still very much alive and sharing the same joke with the other patients who had now arrived.

I do, however, mind the wait at the awful post office, as many of you will know by now. This morning it took 50 minutes to get to the counter to post a package to Britain. Everyone loses their pazienza in the queue but no one complains to the manager there! Meanwhile, the new post office is still under construction in my street. Yesterday I noted that 7 smart new counters had been set up inside. The question is, how many of them will be open at a time?!


Liz Hinds said...

What a wonderful system for the doctor. It's the receptionists that get me; although now I come to think of it, with some of our doctors - there are about 10 in the practice - you wonder why they ever took up medicine if they don't like people.

Anonymous said...

Our local doctor's office is the same. No numbers, just talk to the folks and find out who was last. I enjoy it, but hate sitting in a room with sick folks. Don't want to go in with a minor something and come out with the flu.

James Higham said... greet everyone who is there and then you establish who was the last person to arrive so that you know whom to follow...

Yes we also ask: "kto poslyedni" and there's no real order. It seems to me that pazienza would be an admirable virtue over there, especially if wanting to post.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I know exactly what you mean, Steve! Hi, James. Interesting to know it's the same there. Yes, one needs lots of pazienza here, especially re posting as you say!

Ballpoint Wren said...

I remember when our new post office opened up and it looked as if there were so many counters that no one would ever have to wait again--but they only ever have 3 clerks working at once.

Slow post offices must be universal!


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