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Jane Bates: It's good to talk

Time is a rare commodity in the NHS, but patients still love to chat, says Jane Bates.
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Time is a rare commodity in the NHS, but patients still love to talk, says Jane Bates

‘Can we get a move on, sister?’ the patient said anxiously. She had come for a pre-operative assessment, a lengthy process involving several stages. ‘I have to catch the bus back to Little Widdling-on-the-Marsh at three o’clock and there’s only one a week. If I miss it, I’m done for.’

No pressure then. She reminded me about the bus every 5 minutes, looking pointedly at her watch each time, but when we sat down to discuss her medical history, I could not keep her focused.

She talked about her family, her garden, her holidays, as though we had all the time in the world. ‘Little Widdling – three o’clock,’ I said feebly.

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