Would you shout at the Supermarket if you had run out of potatoes?

We don’t sell potatoes, we issue prescriptions for our patients, and being a busy doctor’s surgery we generally issue at least 6000 items of prescribed drugs and medications each month.

For almost everyday in the last 8 years I’ve heard a patient in the waiting room shouting at one of our receptionists, so with my quality improvement (QIPP) head on I’ve decided to look at these events in a little more detail, so over the last few months whenever I’ve heard the raised voice of a disgruntled punter I have made a note of why this has happened.

What I’ve found out is the most common reason that a patient shouts at one of our receptionists is due to a prescription, or more precisely the lack of one, and the main reason you may be asking yourself is not that we have made a mistake instead it’s simply the patient has forgotten to tell us they are running out.

Also the people most likely to shout and stomp their feet are also most the most likely to do it again, yet despite all of this stomping you may also be surprised that the most common type of medication someone feels they need to storm into reception and shout about are painkillers, with sleeping tablets coming in a close second.

Hand’s up we’re not perfect, and I know that no system is totally robust but we make considerable efforts to make things as clinically safe and easy for our patients as we can do so with almost 100% of patients getting what they need without shouting I’d like to ask the disgruntled; 

Would you go into your local supermarket and shout at the person at the checkout if you had run out of potatoes?