Down the NHS Rabbit Hole

You couldn’t make this stuff up. I had two letters yesterday. They came from Bristol. This is how the NHS now operates. I talk to a doctor, who I could see from my house if it wasn’t for the trees. She refers me to a Urologist, who works about 400 yards from her. I can see the hosp[ital from my back window. Then everything goes to Bristol where they type out the letters and send them. Bristol is 150 miles away. I detect the hand of a management consultant in this. If it’s more efficient I should try it. Next time I wan’t to ask Julia if she would like a cup of tea I will take a detour to Sheffield on my way to the living room. No, still doesn’t make sense . . .

One letter gave me a date for my urology consultation. It is in late January, which is slightly disappointing, but no big deal. Time passes so fast these days it will soon be here. A three month wait for a consultation is a First World Problem really. There are plenty of people in the world who would love to be me. Late January, down to the hospital I can see from my window, no problem.

The second gave me a date for my urology consultation. It is in late January, It’s the same day and time as my other appointment. There is just one difference. They tell me that it is a telephone appointment and that I should not go to hospital.

Hospital curtains – slightly more cheerful than the previous set

I’m tempted to go down, hand in the first letter and then see if they ring me while I am in the waiting room.

However, I rang the central appointment line for Nottingham University Hospitals. They told me to key in my seven figure patient number from the letter. Three digits in they told me they didn’t recognise the number and that I should wait for an advisor.

So I waited. And waited, and the tinny music assailed my ears and the insincere message of apology got on my nerves. Eventually, probably 20 minutes later, having lost the will to live, I got through. I’d only started in queue position number three so I suspect the team of advisors I was linked to consisted of one harassed women.

After I explained the problem she hummed and hahed and muttered and eventually, using a very unconvincing voice, told me it was a phone appointment.

My final room in the three month saga

I’m going to have to write and check, having been here (metaphorically) before. I was going to add links but blog posts don’t really tell the whole story. Basically, fro those of you who don’t know, I went to hospital for a procedure. IT was supposed to be followed by another one just two weeks later. It took 3 months and descended into farce. The NHS accused me of lying several times because I had nothing in writing to prove what I said, though I did have witnesses. They never did explain what happened. They never did apologise (though individual staff members did).

That’s why I am going to waste time writing, because if it happens again I want to be prepared.

Starvation – an ever present danger in hospital. Five chips! Five!

12 thoughts on “Down the NHS Rabbit Hole

  1. arlingwoman

    Ay ay ay. It’s crazy here, too, with phone waits and such. That plate…what’s the green stuff? It looks like baby food peas…That would bother me more than five chips…

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Those are mushy peas, the classic accompaniment for fish and chips. Slightly greyer than the average pea and, as you say, soft, but traditional and delicious. To be fair, opinions are divided bout them. And they are sometimes much greener than the average pea. They are, however, definitely not pea coloured. They are a descendent of pease pudding, that mediaeval staple food of the peasantry. 🙂

      1. arlingwoman

        I’ve heard of those, but never had the pleasure. And then there’s that poem about pease porridge hot, cold, and in the pot, nine days old…

      2. quercuscommunity Post author

        That’s the stuff! I used t make it when I was doing historical re-enactment. People actually liked it! This was more than you could say for the historically accurate hard tack. 🙂

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      It’s stupid stuff like the shingles vaccination – they send out the wrong information then the nurse has to spend 20 minutes apologising and shuffling paper to check I can have it, then 3 minutes giving me two vaccinations. I’m sure she thought I was going to have a go at her, but I didn’t, because I know it isn’t her fault.

      If she’d given it to me and I didn’t qualify this has to be reported as “an incident” and investigated – more wasted time and money.

      I don’t actually know why anyone works in those conditions, It would drive me mad.

  2. Lavinia Ross

    It sounds like what happens when organizations become larger than some unique tipping point, and descend into chaos. Insufficient budgets mean fewer people and resources are involved to straighten out messes and keep things running smoothly. Politicians then use the excuse there is chaos and waste to cut the budgets even further, resulting in a downward spiral. The aim of some politicians is to eliminate social services. We see a lot of political maneuvering of that sort here, and we have fewer social services than the U.K from what I can tell. Scotland seems to handle things much better, as least from what I have read of Tootlepedal’s experiences on his blog. What is the difference between the Scottish and English NHS?


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