Today, after mum saw her Tan Tock Seng Hospital geriatrician — an example of a wonderful doctor with the improbable name of “Angel” — I was given a clutch of papers to pass to the cashier by the attending nurse, to pay and make an appointment for the next visit.
Because our assigned number hadn’t flashed on the board yet, I had time to take a closer look at the papers which together with the usual appointment card was a completed questionnaire.
And among the data solicited from and filled in by the attending nurse, were time of appointment, time seen by doctor, time with doctor and time of patient’s arrival.
Our appointment was for noon. We saw Dr Angel Lee at 12.10pm for which she apologised profusely, explaining she had to see a patient who had been warded. To which I replied rather cheekily: “Not to worry doctor; mum’ s a patient and we’ve all learned to be patient when seeing a doctor haha!”
Our arrival time? I had no idea when we arrived for the appointment but the 11.44am stated in the questinnaire seemed about right. My jaw dropped a little when I saw that we left the doctor’s room at 12.45pm. I had no idea we spent such a long time there but looking at my watch, it was spot on. It was already 12.50m.
When it was my turn to pay, I joked with the cashier, asking if the questionnaire was to gather feedback to help the hospital run a tighter ship.
She looked a bit non-plus, then replied: “We are doing only for this week.”
Whatever the reason/s for the questionnaire, I hope the results won’t push clinics at TTSH to treat patients as though they are widgets on an assembly line!
Because while time is precious, lives are even more so.