The practicable paradox—the five minute emergency

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 30 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:782
  1. Ayan S Panja, general practitioner (
  1. The Medici Practice, Luton

    At our surgery, each doctor offers four slots of five minutes each at the end of the morning for “genuine emergencies.” The other day I found myself whingeing to a colleague about the banal nature of complaints that patients often bring to these appointments. On one particular day the first patient wanted a sick note, the second had run out of paracetamol, another wanted to chase a physiotherapy referral that hadn't come through, and the last was a chap with an itchy bum. Each consultation ended with some gentle patient education. Admittedly, a small part of me was thankful that these weren't hugely taxing appointments, but I was mostly annoyed …

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