I remember the first day I reported for work in Melbourne more than a year ago. It was a Monday and, according to the registrar, apparently the busiest day of the week. In the morning, there was the grand hematology ward round and in the afternoon there was the weekly clinic.
I asked the registrar how many patients are expected that afternoon. He shook his head and said, “We have a lot of patients today. It’s gonna be a long day”.
And so, that afternoon, I braced myself for a ‘long day’ at the clinic. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that ‘long’ is relative. It turned out that we had a total of 8 patients that afternoon who was seen by three physicians!
One of them asked me how many patients are there in my clinic and I answered, “Between 30-40 patients seen by a specialist and one or two medical officers“. They were stunned. One of them said, “Wow! I’ll never complain again!“.
To be fair to my Aussie colleagues, they take a blardy long time with each patient, averaging about an hour per patient. It’s a luxury I can ill afford in Malaysia with the heavy patient load.
Last weekend, I was in Hong Kong attending a regional workshop on HAND (HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders). Whilst there, I discovered from my Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese counterparts that they see an average of 30-100 patients per doctor per day!!!!
I’ll never complain again.