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a blog by Chris Barrow

Cancellations and snow

So here we are, another week of extreme weather conditions and appointment books collapsing as fast as the UK’s chances of hosting the World Cup. I’ve cancelled a trip to Scotland this week because the combination of early and late drives to and from Exeter airport and the current conditions in Edinburgh are enough to make me do the sensible thing for once – and thank goodness for clients who can see my point and are happy to re-schedule to January. Annie’s hygiene book has melted the last two days (because the snow hasn’t) and she is threatening to clean out the kitchen cupboards this afternoon (sacre coeur!) – the home-made soup yesterday was a bonus. A business manager and working spouse writes to me this morning: What do you say to the patient who wants to cancel due to icy weather conditions when they want to do a late cancellation ? When it leaves the hygienist book hit by the 8th cancellation of the day? When a patient has already made it from the same place this morning and says main roads are fine? When you want to scream??????? When the receptionist has told them on your instruction that we will have to charge on that basis? When they now want to speak to the manager who is furious and cannot pick up the phone because she will get angry? Seriously, we have had barely any snow here. Back roads are icy, main roads clear. But it’s Nearly December FFS. Are we not used to a bit of frost? It seems like last year gave everyone a license to be a bloody wimp in Winter and a valid excuse to avoid their commitments. And my reply: And here’s me, just pulled my 2 days in Scotland this week – although I think the combined weather in Cornwall and Edinburgh make that necessary. But you have succeeded in making me feel like a bloody wimp. The question was “what do you say?” and the answer is, “no problem, leave it with me, I’ll get it sorted” usually. Let’s for once assume that there is a valid reason and ask: “in order for me to understand your situation, could you please describe to me specifically the conditions that prevented you from coming to see us today?’ ……then listen empathetically – and make a judgment call. Let me know how you get on. I think you may have brought a blog post on……

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