Thursday, 11 March 2010

The paradox

You know what's odd about XXXX clinic? Their treatment is cutting edge - the very latest scientific advances, including some stuff that's experimental (or, as other clinics would have it, unproven), where they really are leading the way in the field.

But when you go into the office, there's not a computer in sight. All medical records are kept in paper files only. At the end of our consultation last week, Mr Greek God went straight down to the office and wrote out his notes (in addition to those he had taken during the consultation) in longhand, filled in our blood test form by hand and sent us round the corner to the blood lab clutching our piece of yellow paper.

The appointment diary is a big fat book kept on one of the tables in the office, and when you phone for an appointment, they usually take your number and ring you back when they have the big book in front of them.

When I went in for my blood test on Tuesday, there were three crates behind the main desk in the office. They contained the files of people who had appointments that day, and as people arrived they would pull their file out, attach a note to the front to say what they were there for, and put them into an 'arrivals' box to show that the person was now in the waiting room.

There must be a computer somewhere, because their letters and information sheets are word processed, but the equipment in the office is more in keeping with the age of the building - a converted 18th century house. You can almost imagine the clerks writing out their notes in beautiful copperplate handwriting.

The waiting room, too, is unlike most modern medical waiting rooms. It must have been the drawing-room when this was a house, and it has pleasant proportions and high ceilings, and is filled with overstuffed leather armchairs and sofas, with the occasional fine dining chair in between for those who prefer to sit more upright. Perhaps it's the domestic atmosphere as much as the length of the wait that encourages people to chat with other couples while they're waiting in there.

So, the place is a funny mixture of the ultramodern and the old-fashioned - and as someone whose favoured pastimes include blogging and baking, who loves latch-hooking but uses a computer to create designs for it, and who loves having the latest gadgets but was never happier on the road than when I was driving my 30-year-old car to classic car rallies, I think I'll fit right in there.


  1. That's really funny -- I would have expected it to be totally computerized. My husband's practice is all-paper, too right now. There's even a type-writer! (GASP) One day it will be computerized, but for now, it's the old-fashioned way.

  2. I think it sounds sweet, especially the overstuffed chairs...perfect for those long waits!