Now Mr Smith had developed an illness which required him to have injections and blood tests every twelve weeks but, although the big shiny surgery also had a big shiny computer system for patient records, it was too difficult for the people at the surgery to remember when these dates were due, so Mr Smith had to remember and book appointments each time and then a family member would have to arrange time off to take him there, not that they minded doing that at all, but Mr Smith thought that, as he was also just getting over an attack of shingles and still wasn't feeling terribly well, maybe he could have the blood test and injection done at home.
He had also been asked, via an anonymous letter, to make an appointment to see his GP about his blood pressure. As we know, by now Mr Smith was none too sure who his GP was and had to ring the surgery to find out. Nobody seemed to know but the receptionist said she would get Dr X to ring him. Dr X did ring him a couple of days later and told him to double up on his BP medication for now but his next prescription renewal would be at the new dose, so now Mr Smith has to remember that, when he gets his next prescription, he has to stop doubling up.
As for the blood test and injection, by now these were a week late and Dr X said she would 'Speak to the district nurses' about a home visit.
The next day, a nurse rang him and delivered a short lecture over the phone about home visits only being for the housebound and he had to point out that, at the moment, he is recovering from shingles and does not feel able to make a trip to the surgery. The nurse muttered something about 'speaking to the doctor' and rang off.
The next day, a package plopped through Mr Smith's letterbox. It was a syringe and a dose of medication. As he didn't know why it had been delivered with no-one to administer it, he rang the surgery again.
"Oh the nurse will come and give it to you next week," said the receptionist.
Mr Smith was so surprised that he didn't think to ask what day or to point out that, by the time he received his injection, it would be TWO weeks overdue.
Mr Smith thinks that they don't want to be bothered with him because of his age. Others might say that's not true, that the nurses are 'ever so busy' as they keep telling everyone, or that it's 'the system' that's failing patients. They may blame the increase of paperwork or the politicians who, just as in the world of education, have a constant need to make their mark on the system and score points off the opposition.