Barlow's Beef: Roll up your vest ... the doctor is on the phone


I'm told if you want to see your GP it's best to phone the surgery early in the morning. So I called at 8am today and asked for an appointment with my doctor.

"Mmm... just hold a moment while I check his availability. Sorry he doesn't seem to have any before Christmas."

"Is he on holiday?"

"No, he's just very popular."

"So is Justin Bieber but I can see him next week."

"Is it urgent?"

"No I couldn't get a One Direction ticket so Justin filled the gap."

She didn't think that was very funny but when you spend your working life juggling the wheezing wounded laughter doesn't come easy.

"The doctor could fit you in for a telephone consultation," she said.

"Well if that's the best on offer I suppose I'll take it."

"He will call you on Friday morning after 11am."

"Thank you (I think) I shall await his call."

True to his word my doctor phoned me bang on 11.

I was quite impressed and had my vest off ready for examination. Apparently that's not how it works. Face Time is not used during these 'consultations' nor does the doctor listen to your chest via your iPhone.

You could be hopping around with a six-inch nail protruding from your foot and all you can do in these phone appointments is talk about it.

"My wife gave this nail an almighty whack, doctor, unfortunately I had my foot underneath the plank."

Telephone consultations are probably good for hypochondriacs or anyone else planning a future illness. You can be one step ahead of your symptoms (unless you have a nail through your foot in which case you can't be one step ahead of anything).

In truth my doctor is very conscientious and I'd trust him with my life - which is just as well as I've been with him for years. For my part I am a fairly patient... err... patient. If he's busy I don't cause a fuss. I'll wait a couple of weeks no problem but 'No appointments until after Christmas' suggested to me that he was either away or (seeing as he's so popular) starring in panto.

However, I digress. This telephone consultation system is not something I have experienced before and truth to tell I don't really get it. My doctor is a jolly nice chap and I'm happy to talk to him any time but I'm struggling to think of a situation where I'd prefer a phone call to an appointment.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. I now have an appointment during the holiday season for which I am extremely grateful.

I will however be highly suspicious should I spot a Widow Twankey outfit hanging in the changing cubicle.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow