Have you tried to make a doctors appointment lately?
Dear God give me strength!
The last time I got angry about trying to make a doctors appointment was when I had to book in for my first prostate examination but this time I was close to being a quivering wreck after just two minutes on the phone to the local clinic.
I honestly believe the reason the NHS is frigged is because of two things:
1. The fact that it is close to impossible to make a doctors appointment simply on the phone.
2. The ‘be as grumpy as you can’ degree that most doctors receptionist seem to take.
I remember when getting to see the doctor involved picking up the phone, asking for an appointment and being booked in for the next available slot. Yes that may have been the next day sometimes or in a couple of days, but it was convenient, not frustrating and it worked! But now the whole sorry process leaves any person with a slight medical problem dribbling and shaking with despair.
I called the doctors at about one in the afternoon to make an appointment, I was told I could not make an appointment but the doctor would call me back. I explained I can’t wait in for a call back, I have to work, so I was told to call back at 8.30in the morning. I explained that I could not call at 8.30 in the morning because I had to work, could I just make an appointment for the next available time. I was told ‘no’ not unless I call at 8.30 in the morning or wait for a call back from the doctor. By this time I had a huge purple stress vein throbbing in my neck and my bald patch was glowing red!
OK, I said, if I can’t make an appointment for today, can I make an appointment for tomorrow or the next day. I was told ‘no’, you have to call at 8.30 on the day you want the appointment. So I explained that 8.30 is not convenient for me so what do I do? The receptionists attitude changed from slight disdain to mild scorn and she said, if you can’t phone in at 8.30 you’ll need to phone and wait for a call back from the doctor.
OK, I explained, I can not call at 8.30 in the morning, nor can I wait around for a call back from the doctor so can I call past the clinic and book an appointment at the desk. I was told with an even greater tone of despisal, ‘no’ we don’t have access to appointments at the desk you have to phone to make an appointment… That is what I am bloody well trying to do! At this point the throbbing purple stress vein in my neck burst and the phone somehow left my hand and ended up in the garden.
How on earth does this ridiculous system work and what the hell is the point of it. My only guess is so it looks like everyone phoning up gets an appointment on the day they ask for it so that the clinics / local authority / governments figures look good with no waiting times, but for goodness sake, what about people who work long hours, what about people that can not wait around for a call back from the doctor, what about night workers that sleep in the day, what about people that are doing the school run at 8.30in the morning, what about people that don’t have a phone or who can’t keep their phone turned on at work, what about, what about, what about….
The reason the NHS is frigged is because of the knock on effect from the difficulty of being able to get to see your local GP. People can’t get to see their Doctor so they go to A and E and clog up A and E with minor illnesses or they leave it and what was a mild treatable medical condition gets worse and becomes something serious. A mild mannered generally easy going person can be tipped over the edge by the process and the attitude and that can only make the nations health worse.
Don’t misunderstand me, I have great respect and admiration for the majority of people working in the NHS but why can’t we return to a simpler time when you could just ring up or call in to the local clinic to make an appointment.
The tipping point during the call I had with the clinic was when the receptionist told me their system does not allow them to see or make appointments for the following day. I don’t know if this is true or if this was a way to get rid of me but if it is true what the hell kind of system is that? which computer genius designed the system? and who employed them to do it and then signed it off?
Computers are great, IT is great and generally speaking technology is great but when advances in IT come up with a system that makes it impossible to get to see your doctor surely it is time to go back to the drawing board and think it through again!
“I have finished ranting now nurse, I’ll have my medication and go back to sleep.”
Written by Blogger Jamie Penn – March 2nd 2015