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Dieter Zakel

Drive In Doc At Petrol Station To Cut Waiting Times

An Austrian doctor is claiming to have created the first drive-in doctors surgery – at a petrol station.

Visitors who turn up for treatment can spend the waiting time filling up their cars, putting them in the washer or shopping in the petrol station supermarket while they wait to be called by Dr Dieter Zakel, who has created his mini drive-in GPs practice at the ENI petrol station on the Krottenbachstrasse in the Vienna district of Doebling.

He said: "People don't have to make an appointment, and we promise to see everybody within 15 minutes."

If it's going to take longer visitors have time to use the petrol station facilities so it doesn't get too boring.

His surgery will be open from 6am until 10pm daily seven days a week, with a fixed cost of 50 EUR for a 15 minute check. The idea of paying the money as opposed to having a free trip to the GP is one that he believes will work as many people don't want to spend hours at a doctors surgery.

The move has been criticised by the local chamber of doctors who say that quick turnaround drive-in medicine is not the way for the future, but Dr Zakel defended the project saying: "80 percent of all problems can be solved with a good chat with the patient and a careful diagnosis. The only equipment I need for that is a stethoscope, a telephone, and my prescription pad."

Chamber of Doctor spokesman Norbert Jachimowicz said: "As far as we're concerned he has only limited diagnostic possibilities and I don't believe a serious medical diagnosis can be made." He said they would be carefully monitoring the situation, and would act at the slightest opportunity if they had any concerns at all.

The project will mean a 100 hour week for the doctor 16 hours a day seven days a week but he said he isn't worried as he wants to get to know his patients and to test the viability of the project.

The doctor who is not only a qualified GP, but also an anaesthetist and emergency doctor was a senior doctor at the regional hospital in the Lower Austrian capital of St Poelten and in 2007 in Linz. He also worked as a chief medical officer at both the UNO and NATO, and in 2009 dealt with under 17 players for the FIFA world championship.

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