Where I work (just on the outskirts of Melbourne in a coastal town) people are quite health conscious. It’s fairly routine to get the fit and healthy 20-something-year-olds coming in and asking for their annual routine bloods.

“What do you mean by annual bloods?” I ask. “Well you know, everything. Just to check. Like my cholesterol, my vitamin (pronounced vite-a-min) D, my hormones, that sort of stuff.” My pulse rate tends to peak at around 200 in these consultations as I’m afraid the ethical, good doctor-angel on my shoulder starts jumping up and down reminding me to challenge this unnecessary screening. I have also had requests for body scans – “just to check”.

But the beauty here is that if people really want their scans and are not put off by my deflection talk, then I can still send them for it, but I just tick the ‘private’ box on the form.

Another strange difference is that it’s fairly common for people to consult naturopaths, homeopaths and other ‘paths’ as part of their health promotion routine. It’s also fairly common for people to be on weird and wonderful concoctions of non-evidence based pills, potions and vitamins (vite-a-mins) to enhance their youthful lustra.

I prescribed some antibiotics the other day for a lady with a painful abscess. Her response, “I’ll take the script to my naturopath and see if she agrees with this.” *Faceplant in palm*. ●

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