Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Caution: this surgery may be injurious to your well-being

I visited the Skin and Cancer Foundation for a periodic skin cancer check and whilst waiting for my appointment was bemused by the various signs on display in the waiting room.

The signs were mostly presented as warnings rather than as requests or information notices so that for mine the general impression created was of a negative environment. I counted at least eight separate signs warning patients about:

- mobile phones
- payment on attendance
- appointment delays
- insufficient cancellation notification
- pathology bills

Under the heading Waiting Room Etiquette - echoes of teacher correcting wayward student - were separate signs that patients should ask staff for the location of toilets and maintain control of their children.

Yet another sign headed Zero Tolerance Policy warned that badly behaving patients would not be tolerated.

I think that they could do with some expert advice on making their signage (and in consequence their waiting room) more welcoming.

The one warning I didn't get was that my check up would uncover a mole 'of concern' which may be a Basal Cell Carcinoma (not such a problem) or a melanoma (potentially more serious). The offending mole was removed and sent to pathology for testing.

I return in two weeks for the results and for removal of the sutures.


  1. Bet that's not the first mole you've had to take off your body ;p

  2. I've noticed that these sorts of signs are more prevalent the further down-market you go. I found they were extremely minatory when I needed to walk in for an x-ray in WA - all a bit like those service stations where they are worried you'll do a runner and only do prepay petrol.

    The funny thing about the Skin and Cancer Foundation (I've been there) is that it claims to be and is in fact at law a "charity." Perhaps that's what makes it so bossy to its patients, even though so far as suburban punters like you and me are concerned there is nothing particularly charitable about its activities. As charities go, it certainly seems to provide a good enough living for those who run it.

  3. Marcellous - I didn't realise it's charity status. They certainly charge an arm and a leg.

  4. There are some "charitable" aspects to their work (research, training for would-be specialists and possibly some care for poor and deprived people). It does mean that no-one owns the business so that there is nothing to be divided up between shareholders it it stops (it's a company limited by guarantee like the opera). However, that doesn't stop the people running it and working there paying themselves quite well (as wages or fees for service rather than dividends) while it is running.