What is it about services related to the NHS? Why do their employees consistently display this appallling 'take it or leave it' attitude to their customers, patients or whatever term they care to use?
At our surgery, there is a half hour slot in the day for patients to ring up for prescription renewals. Tough luck if you are working and can't actually gain access to a phone at that time. If you need to make an appointment, well that's even more complicated. It is necessary to ring on the day you need the appointment for, so make sure you know in advance when you're going to need medical care. Mind you, you can get your prescription sent to the local chemist for you to pick up from there - eventually. Give it at least half a week.
On Wednesday I rang for a prescription renewal for some of Keith's dressings, pointing out that, last week, I had asked specifically for adhesive dressings, only to be given, yet again, wound pads. Eventually, with a couple of extra phone calls on my part to the district nurse, we established exactly which dressings were required and the prescription was sent to the chemist, it appears, that afternoon.
Fast forward to today. With a caution born of past experience, I rang the chemist first to make sure the prescription was ready to be collected, only to be told that nothing had been received from the surgery as yet and I should ring them again, which I duly did, only to be told that the scrip had been sent to the chemist's on Wednesday afternoon.
An hour later, another phone call from the surgery, Yes, the chemist now agreed that they had received the scrip and the prescription was ready. Assuming, logically as I thought, that this meant that the prescription was ready, I set off to the chemist.
"You have a prescription for ********," I said confidently to the sales assistant.
She went off to look - and then came back after muffled consultations with the pharmacist and other assistant.
"No, it's not ready. We have to send for the dressings."
I could feel a strong attack of 'deputy head' mode coming on as I pointed out that the surgery had been told that the prescription was ready to collect and that every time I came to collect dressings, there was a problem between the chemist and the surgery.
"Do you want to take it somewhere else, then?" was the po-faced response.
No, I don't. Actually, what I want is not to have to wait half a week for a prescription to be ready.
I also want better communication between the surgery and pharmacy and - one more thing - I would very much appreciate some vague hint that the people involved are just slightly apologetic that their service has not been up to scratch.