Personal Views

BUPA subscription? That will do nicely

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7054.431 (Published 17 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:431
  1. David Currie

    The following conversation concludes my consultation with a patient every other week now.

    “All right sir, I will put your name on our waiting list and we should be able to admit you within about six weeks.”

    Patient: “I'm in BUPA (or PPP), would that help?”

    “Not really. How did you think it would help?”

    Patient: “Well, I thought it might be quicker.”

    “I'm afraid not. The rate at which we can work is determined by the number of beds and the availability of an operating list, not by my remuneration.”

    Patient: “What's the use of me having a subscription then?”

    “I really don't know. I work for the NHS.”

    I am sorely tempted to be sarcastic and say “BUPA, sir? That will do nicely,” but I am still restrained by the requirements of the doctor and patient relationship and the need to keep my own feelings from adding to the patient's existing anxiety. Do I look as if I might take a bribe? Would the patient be so casual in offering a bribe if he was speaking to a police officer instead of an NHS consultant? For there is no question that I am being offered an incentive, either to do the job I am already paid to do or to offer this patient preferential …

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