Saturday, August 17, 2013

Locum Agencies

I got very annoyed last week whilst on call. I think it was justified.

I got paged by an outside line during a particularly busy on call shift. This normally means a GP has a sick patient who needs to be seen or another hospital has a VERY sick patient with a vascular problem. Also, as the outside lines are on hold, the bleep tends to keep on going until you answer it. So I tend to answer these bleeps fairly promptly, sometimes even interrupting seeing patients to do so.

So I run to the nearest phone and dial the extension to be greeted by an enthusiastic male voice with the following:

Idiot: "Hello, Are you the surgical SHO on call? We here at Idiot Locums have multiple locum opportunities just for you!"

Dobber: "You know this is the on call page FOR EMERGENCIES?! Please do not call this number again"

I think I then got a bit uppity and self important with him, saying stuff about how I'm a very busy and important doctor and his call has potentially wasted time I could be spending with a patient. And then I was going to call switchboard to block calls from his number again. So all in all I spent another 5 minutes of my shift just trying to stop this idiot doing it again. I really annoyed me, because when I spoke to switchboard they said they put an emergency call through to us. So not only was he a time waster, he was a liar. I'm actually quite keen on locum work, if he had just asked our medical staffing department, he could have had my email address!

Pagers in general are a great annoyance. Not only is our hospital so lame that they can't pay for my bleep to get replaced as its 20 years old. It is also very obnoxious and inefficient. You can't receive messages so you don't know what you are ignoring whilst you are doing a procedure. They also give no guarantee that the other person will pick up the phone at the other end. Carrying mobiles is even more annoying as you can't ignore them and will keep ringing until you pick them up. I always feel sorry for patients if I have to interrupt their history for a bleep. Even an urgent one. Especially as to the patient, the story they are telling is the most important thing to them at that moment.

Another thing! When I say I'm "on call" people always assume that means I'm asleep all night and that I only get a couple of calls a night. This is wrong and on call does not mean that any more! On call means that I cover the entire surgical side of the hospital and I don't sleep (my contract even says it is not allowed) at night. I work very hard and then go to bed in the morning. So I should just say "working night shift". But that makes me sound like I pack shipping containers. Which with the size of some of my jobs wouldn't be far off.


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