"Oncology.... a case study."

About: University Hospital (Coventry)

The other day I went to the hairdresser. It took me three days of phoning to get through to make an appointment - I achieved it by getting on to the phone just before he opened and hanging on til someone answered. Even then the first appointment on offer was two weeks ahead. When I arrived at the salon, I waited while the receptionist barked at two people who had had the temerity to ring up, then she checked me off and told me to sit down; I was faced with a notice telling me to inform her if I had to wait more than 30 minutes after the set time. When I did this 40 minutes later, she told me that the hairdresser was very busy, his time was valuable and I had no right to complain. When he eventually got round to having me ushered to his chair, he asked what I wanted done but interrupted before I'd finished. An apprentice washed my hair, by which time the maestro had gone elsewhere and my hair-do was completed by an assistant with an NVQ Level 2 in hair-care.As I left I was told to buy an expensive bottle of conditioner and told that if I did not use it I would be considered an unco-operative client and given no more appointments. Such a hair-dresser would of course be bankrupt within weeks. Yet mutatis mutandis that's what consultants get away with throughout their "professional" lives.

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