Blood test again, and I went down for 8.20 this time, to avoid the queue.
It started going wrong when I was prevented from entering the car park by a man shouting at the machine in a haughty and peremptory manner (which immediately made me assume he was a doctor).
“I’m at the car park in front of Maternity and the barrier won’t lift!” he said.
They raised it for him. When I pulled up at the barrier I found that he’d neglected to take the ticket from the slot, which would have raised the barrier. It worked for me.
By the time I’d parked, he was walking into Maternity with an expensive leather bag over one shoulder. If he has such trouble extracting a ticket from a slot I can’t imagine he’s much of a gynaecologist.
As I walked across to the blood-letting department it started to rain – small, sharp, freezing droplets.
It got worse when I entered the waiting area and took a ticket. I was 11th in the queue. Not only that, but after doing ten people the service seemed to stop. even the people behind me noticed it, and they weren’t next in the queue or in a hurry to get out and have breakfast with their wife before going to work.
I had “the trainee” again. She’s making progress because, after two multiple failures she nailed it first time. They now use a piece of arm which hurts more than usual, but if it works I suppose it’s better than multiple stab wounds.
As I walked back to the car it rained. This time the drops were bigger and less icy. They were still cold though. The roof of the shelter over the ticket machine, I noticed, is just the right size to channel drips of cold water onto your head as you feed your money into the machine. For an extra £20 in materials they could probably have built a shelter that kept people dry as they paid.
It occurs to me that the NHS is missing a trick. Charles Saatchi once owned a frozen sculpture made from the blood of the artist Marc Quinn. Despite it nearly defrosting in a builder-related incident, he managed to resell it for £1.5 million.
Clearly, as the NHS has plenty of blood going spare, there’s an opening here for an enterprising artist, an Arts Council Grant and one of those marketing companies that knocks out limited editions via the colour supplement on Sundays.
You can do 150 heart valve operations for the cost of one frozen blood sculpture. Or 1,500 cataract operations
I’m not saying that it’s the solution to NHS funding problems but it might help.