News | Feature

Door handle conversations

01 Jun 2018

Two of our on-site GPs, Dr Pixie McKenna and Dr Sera Shoukru, list the top 10 conversations they've had with male patients just as they're about to leave their consulting room.

What's a "door handle conversation"?

Most men don't like seeing the doctor, it's a fact. When faced with a medical dilemma they often favour the option of doing nothing over that of finding out what's wrong. 

Bottom line is: men don't like asking for help and even when they do finally brace the door of the GP surgery it can take them a while to tell us why they are really there.   This classic male manoeuvre is what we call "the door handle conversation". 

male hand on a surgery door handle

Essentially this means that they will often initiate their consultation with a fairly innocuous complaint and only blurt out why they are really there when they're on the brink of going through the door.

The parting shot of "Can I just ask..?" or "Just one more  thing, doctor" is GP code for "I have a serious concern". 

We are trained as doctors to anticipate these door handle conversations.

Once the ice is broken and the real reason for attendance is broached, we can finally get to the bottom of why the patient made the appointment.

Most importantly, we can work with them to sort it.

The top 10

Here are the top 10 door handle conversations we encounter with male patients.

  1. "I’ve seen blood when I go to the toilet"
    The purpose-built Endoscopy Unit at The London Clinic offers a range of investigations to ease your concerns. A colonoscopy, for example, is used to investigate potential bowel cancer.
  2. "I'm worried I might have a sexually transmitted infection"

    The Men's Sexual Health service at The London Clinic has a team of experts in sexual health. These experts can provide a wide range of assessments, advice and treatments to help you identify and deal with your sexual issues in a sympathetic setting.

  3. “I'm worried about a mole/rash"
    The London Clinic has a number of highly experienced consultant dermatologists, who will be able to assess your symptoms.
  4. "Can I have a blood test for everything?"

    Dr Pixie and Dr Sera offer bespoke, specialist nutrition and lifestyle medicals here at The London Clinic. Your detailed consultation comes as part of a personal service aimed at making you as healthy as possible. Blood tests and other detailed information (e.g. body fat analysis, muscle mass) will be backed up by expert nutritional advice.

  5. "My wife says I snore too much"
    If first option treatments such as lifestyle changes and breathing devices do not help to alleviate snoring, surgery may help to treat the issue.
  6. "I'm having problems in the bedroom"

    The Men's Sexual Health service can help here, too.

  7. "I'm having trouble with my waterworks"
    Our consultant urologists work with our urology team offer a range of treatments for male urinary incontinence. The benefits include rapid symptom relief.

  8. "I'm worried about my liver"

    Our liver services area provides access to the latest developments in the diagnosis and treatment of liver disease. One test is a FibroScan® test, which works using ultrasound and gives an immediate result.

  9. "I'm worried about my heart"
    The London Clinic provides a number of procedures to assess the health of your heart. Our diagnostic services facility offers a range of heart investigations, helping your cardiologist to develop a treatment programme tailored to your needs.

  10.  "Can we check my testosterone?"
    If you are feeling tired all the time, then you may like to have a Nutrition and Lifestyle medical. Dr Pixie and Dr Sera offer these bespoke, specialist medicals here at The London Clinic. Blood tests and other detailed information (e.g. body fat analysis, muscle mass) will be backed up by expert nutritional advice. 


Any views expressed in this article are those of the featured specialist(s) and should not be considered to be the views or official policy of The London Clinic.