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Friday, 31 December 2010

Harassment, pure and simple?

Is this how it has become? You are harassed into being an hypochondriac???

I’m a Doctor, trust me?
This is not the first phone call I have received this dying year from my local doctors surgery asking me about my smoking habits where I have refused to reveal it, one way or the other, but I guess they know by my intransigence that I am a proud smoker.  Today they surpassed themselves.

The first phone call this morning came from the practice nurse who “needed to update her records” and wanted to ask me a few questions whilst saying she was sorry for phoning me on New Years Eve. I said “I’ve an idea what you want to know, but please continue.”

She then went on to ask me if I had the Flu shot, Swine Flu shot, another shot I’d never heard of and whether my height and weight still remained the same before leaving the question I thought she would have asked first, do you smoke.

I explained, on political terms,one by one, why I didn’t have the Flu shot, Swine Flu shot etc and would not divulge if I smoked or not, telling her that I was a member of F2C and was diametrically opposed to the smoking ban and my political stance on it (I was fuming by then, no pun intended) and I ran their office. The upshot was that she told me that the practice would not ask me those questions again…I’ll wait with baited breath!

Two hours later!

The head receptionist phoned me up (I answered in the same tone as above) with one question about Beryl’s (my wife) health* but didn’t ask me if she had her Flu shot, Swine Flu shot, or the other Flu shot I’d never heard of, or her height or weight or her fucking Alzheimer's …no, she asked if she still smoked!
Once again I was told that these questions would not be asked of me…I wait with baited breath.
You have to ask the question WTF is going on today?

*Because of Beryl’s Alzheimer’s I have legal authority to act and speak on her behalf but that does not stop me from feeling terrible for her not being able to, especially where her health is concerned, say what she thinks. I know she is a mild smoker and, in her present condition, she hates this intrusion into her smoking habits. She does not understand this vicious smoking ban when she socialises.


Anonymous said...

Did you ask the nurse how much the surgery was paid by the pharmaceutical companies to push their drugs?

handymanphil said...

John, what I fing works quite nicely is saying, "sorry, under the data protection Act....." and then ask them for absolute proof of who they are. That usually pisses them off totally and they end the conversation. I get very few idiotically intrusive phone calls now!

Anonymous said...

"Pharmacists receive cash bonuses of between £50 and £85 for every person who has continued to abstain from smoking four weeks after starting the programme, as proved by two consecutive low carbon monoxide readings.
A pharmacist who treats 600 patients in a year stands to make up to £85,000 gross profit."

But that was in 2006

TheBigYin said...

The thing is Phil is that they themselves do not piss me off, it's the questions that they ask in such a benign way, it was when the second questioner said she was asked by her manager to phone me that It finally sunk in that they were touting for our favours, they were looking for ways to swell the practice coffers! It's money, pure and simple...our health is but a sideline that has to be used for swelling those coffers!

JJ said...

This line of questioning is deeply intrusive. It you want advice or don't feel well or feel the need to give your doctor any information then you will.

I would suggest you write to your MP outlining the questions you were asked.

Paul Kearns said...

So they phoned YOU to ask these questions did they?
Although they were probably just trying to complete their "year end bonus forms", requesting such information (and especially asking questions like "does your wife still smoke"?) breaches the doctor / patient confidentiality part of their oath. They are asking a receptionist to make such queries - regarding items that are confidential between a patient and their doctor.
How the hell did they know it would be YOU that answered the phone (or even if they had the number correct)? They DIDN'T.
Not totally sure but they may well have acted illegally in making these calls.
Luckily - out here in the "sticks", although my doctor knows I smoke (he comes round for coffee on occasions as we know each other socially and I have been "busted" occasionally) - I am still "officially" a non smoker.
How I hanker for the days when an alcoholic was defined as "someone who drank more than their doctor"!!

Anonymous said...

I honestly think that this sort of intrusive prod-nose, commission-driven insult that you have received will, by this time next year, have been consigned to history as there are massive economic and social changes coming down the tracks which are gonna get everything back into perspective. Everyone will cotton on when they can't afford basics and can't do anything about it.

Kin_Free said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kin_Free said...

I suspect that this has everything to do with Alzheimer's John - they want each and every smoking Alzheimer's sufferer - and those exposed to SHS, on the anti-smoker database as a matter of urgency.

The relationship between increasing Alzheimer's and reduced smoking is one of the main chinks in the anti-smoker armour that they are desperate to patch up. Much research into Alzheimer's concludes that smoking is beneficial by preventing or delaying it.

As smoking prevalence reduces, Alzheimer's & Dementure has been increasing substantially. The projected health care costs are apparently expected to cost way, way more than all other so called smoke related diseases in the near future.

Causes of Death, Australia, 2007:- 
Deaths due to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30) have moved from seventh leading cause in 1998 to fourth leading cause in 2007. The number of deaths due to this cause has increased 126% from 3,244 in 1998 to 7,320 in 2007. This is largely due to an increase in deaths due to Dementia (F01-F03), which increased from 1,777 in 1998 to 5,048 in 2007.

126% increase in less than 10 years!

While the actual death figures are relatively small compared to say heart disease, These patients can survive many many years, often requiring constant care, and that sort of care works out very expensive when the state has to supply it!

This has the potential to 'upset the apple cart' (or more pertinently, 'derail the anti-smoker gravy train')! and negate ALL the claims that smokers are costing the NHS money, but this also may inspire people to compare the costs / benefits of smoking - deciding to trade off the small risks of dying of cancer against years of brain degeneration - if this bombshell was to be accepted and became common knowledge that is.

Hence the specific interest in your/your wife's smoking habits... and why this subject is very important to pro-choice advocates!

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