"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NHS Appointments

Keith had an appointment at the hospital today, Orthopaedics outpatients, to be exact to discuss what can now be done for his ankle that they made such a mess of first time round. (Having finally gained access to his records as part of an insurance claim a few months ago, he learned that his ankle had actually been broken in three places, two of which had not healed when they referred him for physiotherapy, so yes, I consider that making a mess of things.)
His appointment was for 9.55am and we duly arrived at 9.40 and waited. By 10.30 everyone who had come in after him had been called, so I went back to Reception to check that he was actually on the list. Returning to the waiting area, I was just in time to hear a nurse announcing that the clinic for that particular consultant was running an hour late. So we settled down to wait again....
By 12 o'clock, a lady was called who protested that the lady next to her had an earlier appointment than her but was told to go in anyway. Meanwhile, I asked a nurse (nurse, doctor, cleaner - who can tell these days?) who had appeared if Keith was on the list as his appointment was for 9.55. She looked at me (or maybe through me - perhaps I was wearing my invisibility cloak) and didn't answer. A few moments later, she reappeared and I repeated my question.
"I did say the clinic was running two hours late," was her reply.
"No you didn't," I thought but I didn't argue, merely asked her to check if Keith was on the list - again!
A minute later, another man, who had arrived well after us, collared another nurse and asked about his appointment as he had to be in Manchester at 2pm.
Eventually, Keith was told that he was now third in the list. Two people had already been called in (to wait another 20 minutes to actually see the consultant) so we naturally presumed he would be next.
Foolish assumption.
The man who wanted to go to Manchester was told he wasn't going to make it, someone else was called in and Keith was told he would be next.
It was now 12.10. Being called in to the 'inner sanctum,' as Keith knew from previous experience, meant another wait of at least 20 minutes and by now he'd had enough and so had I. He was already very late for a job he had to go to, so he cancelled his appointment and now has another one for November.
"Do you prefer an early one?" the receptionist enquired.
"Yes, as long as I am actually going to be seen," he replied.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

That's awful. I wish I could summon a humorous quip in response but I can't. Why treat people like that? Our time is precious. Besides, visiting hospital can be a stressful experience at the best of times but keeping people waiting more than half an hour is just not on. Backsides need kicking.

Jennyta said...

Too true, YP. Apparently, the consultant in question is one of those lacking in people skills, barely giving the patient the time of day when they do eventually come face to face.

Daphne said...

I hate it when they treat patients like that. If it's ANY comfort, I'm starting work with some first-year student doctors next week and will be telling them this story and asking them to spend their careers campaigning that this kind of thing is unacceptable.

Jennyta said...

Thanks, Daphne. Then send some of them over to Wales, please. :)


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