Dear NHS (by )

Dear NHS

I love you, you save my life, keep my children disease free with immunisations and keep my parents going. But sometimes I think you need a big hammer taking to your structure.

The main issue I have today is appointment booking. Getting to the Drs today I booked in and found it was only saying Nurse, I did not worry at first as I had double checked when I made the appointment that I was booking both nurse and Dr. So I finished booking in on your funky touch skin panel and waited for my nurse appointment.

Getting into my appointment I find that the room is double booked and the nurse has to move use into another room she knows is free, then the smear I'm having because I'm still bleeding and loosing gloop 9 weeks after having my baby apparently shouldn't be done whilst I'm still bleeding :/

That all done along with blood tests I've had to starve for I leave - the nurse was lovely but I still felt disorientated which is why when I tried to book in for the Drs appointment I felt I must be doing something wrong and asked at reception - where it turns out I don't have one :/

Now I wasn't thinking so left thinking this was my fault until Alaric reminds me that I double checked and that he hadn't called NHS direct at the weekend when I lost a load of black jelly ribbons as well as blood because I was seeing the Dr this week.

Getting home I check and find that my doctor doesn't actually have a clinic on Tuesdays which I summise is part of where things have gone wrong.

I find this sort of error so frustrating because it shouldn't be able to happen - they printed me out an appointment slip and we noticed it had said just nurse and asked and they said no I was booked for both and they would be one after another which was why there was only one slip of paper. Now I think this was a combination of us not knowing the Dr didn't work Tuesdays and the receptionists not listening and assuming things as I had two things needing doing by the nurse. As a patient I myself made the mistake of assume the two things to be being done in ONE appointment where as they must have been thinking of it as two.

This is not the only time this sort of thing has happened either - I've had cases of letters with dates on them when the hospital clinic doesn't run, or has a day name (Monday, Tuesday) that doesn't correspond to the date given. I've turned up to an appointment at the Drs to be told I'm discharged from a clinic at the hospital I hadn't even known I was supposed to be attending but was supposed to be at a week ago. And so on... some of these things are easy to sort out and some are not. Like whilst at university I waited two years for an MRI scan to sort out my pain and muscle stuff only to find out that in agreeing to go on the pain management course had taken me off the waiting list. To be fair the Dr I had at the time was very angry that I had too wait so long for the diagnostic tests some of which I 'fell' off the waiting lists for three times through clerical error :/

Dr surgeries and hospitals still rely on post to get appointment letters too you - why they can not email, text and post I don't know - they say it's a security risk - and I suppose having neighbours end up with your post and opening it isn't?

The other thing is they are expected sick people to remember stuff which really is not going to work very well.

How they relay information, store it and use it needs an over haul, the amount of money and resources lost due to patients not turning up when they should could be drastically reduced with sending reminders. Plus it would save people having to book so much time off needlessly for appointments that then don't happen.

Plus there have been situations were what I have been prescribed by a locum at the drs surgery never getting into their records - that I find scary - I would prefer all the A&E departments, Drs etc... to be linked up - because I can't remember all the meds I've had and if I'm treated in Essex the Dr in Gloucestershire still needs too know. Obviously there might be need for nominity in say the family planning clinics and SDT treatmets and the whole issue of domestic violence and control can be thorny but there should be a way of exempting people not having it so everyones in a muddle all the time.

I was really pleased when I saw computers appearing in Drs surgeries as I thought this would help but they don't even keep all you files there accessible they still do things like printing out the old stuff and keeping it in boxes in the antic :/ So your entire medical history is not avaliable to them there and then.

This does not make sense to me.

The same as not having the medicines in a searchable data base as to who can and can't take it - rather than have the Drs having to flick through huge books.

You may think this is a mountain out of a mole hill but were the NHS is concerned an error of miss filing can cost lives as we very well know.

1 Comment

  • By @ndy, Wed 6th Apr 2011 @ 8:57 am

    I've been loosely keeping tabs on this for nearly 20 years and in that time the "NHS IT project" has sent, or almost sent, several firms of contractors bust. Some of those firms are big players in their field. It's a nonsense and I hear the Doctors are no longer interested in listening to empty infrastructure promises and just want to get on with things the way they know as it seems to work out just as well, if not better.

    I hope you sort stuff out and get the care you need. Remember that you can always resort to A&E in cases where it's appropriate.

    Good luck!

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