"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)

Friday, September 16, 2016

And the opticians ... ?

This blog is beginning to seem like a series of complaints about the NHS, so apologies for that, but these are experiences I feel the need to share.
Today, I had an appointment with my optician. These days I see her every six months. I should really only see her every twelve months, but she sees me more frequently because the waiting times at the local hospital ophthalmology department are so long. At the beginning of the year, there was evidence of some optic disc haemorrhage, most likely related to my glaucoma and the fact that my current eye drops were not reducing the pressure very effectively.
"You need to be seen at the hospital within the next couple of weeks," she said, so I went home and rang the opthalomology out patients dept. In fact, I was well overdue for my next appointment anyway, but appointment were taking much longer to come through. In spite of pleading my case, the earliest appointment I could have would be in  five to six weeks, and as I wasn't prepared to take chances, I opted to see the consultant privately. This was the second time I had had to do that, the first time being just to get eye drops prescribed initially. I am lucky that I am able to pay to go privately if necessary, but it does not sit well with me that, whilst I am able to do that, other less fortunate people are not and have to take their chances.
Today's results were reassuring in that the second type of eye drops which I was given at the last hospital appointment were doing a reasonable job and my pressures were lower, although still not as low as they should be. 
So Mrs S will see me again in six months.
In the meantime, she was telling me of losing three of her opticians and having to fill in the gaps which they have left, whilst trying to find new staff and of the constant battle in trying to get her patients seen by ophalmologists within appropriate timescales. 
Mrs S is an independent optician and has three branches, two in England and one in Wales.
I am hoping that she will not at some stage decide to pull out of ours.


Helsie said...

Waiting times for non -life threatening complaints can be very long here too. That's why so many Aussies opt for private health cover. Recently I had to have a hysterectomy because of the presense of PRE cancerous cells. I would not have wanted to wait around until they developed into cancer before anything was done !!

Jenny Aspin said...

No indeed, Helsie. I hope you are recovering well now.

Dale said...

"other less fortunate people are not (able to pay privately) and have to take their chances"
This is the part that most concerns me. Do the poor feel less pain than the rich? Are they less deserving of PROMPT and effective health care? We are walking on a slippery slope. And I am not at all confident of a happy outcome.

Jenny Aspin said...

Absolutely, Dale. The NHS is being insidiously undermined and it doesn't help that there is also a scandalous waste of money throughout. Have a look at http://jennytc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/doctors-nurses-oh-and-patients.html which was about Dad's experience at his GP practice before he moved up here. The second part of that story is that, over a few months, no less than four injection packs were delivered to him in error and not used - a cost of £400.

ZACL said...

Not good is it. I heard that Moorfields Eye Hospital in London were losing a number of their consultants, leaving out- patients who were capable, of advising the more junior doctors how to deal with their personal eye situations. Dire!

I am glad you have been able to be reassured, however, I feel much as you do, very uncomfortable with the way it has to be done. On the other hand, we supported our parents' generation and we have paid our own dues, into a ponsy scheme it seems.

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