Thursday, 19 January 2012

Not another "bad decision by the NHS" story....

Now if you have been watching and reading the news recently, one matter, which just will not work out for the coalition, is the reforms planned for the NHS. Even today, the British Medical Association has revealed that in a recent survey conducted by its members, 2/3 of the association would strike over pension reform. This adds to the latest patient waiting-time figures, which revealed that 43% of patients were not being seen in the designated waiting-times set by the government.

So you can understand my uncertainty about meeting my doctor for the first time. Since I have moved to university, I have had to change doctor’s surgery. The registration process was simple; sign on the dotted line, and you will have a new doctor waiting for whenever you need a tickly throat inspected.

Yet the brand new surgery, conveniently opened inside Boots the Chemist, looked the part as I walked in. And contrary to the new waiting room figures, I had barely made myself comfortable in my seat before the nurse called my name, and I was escorted into a dull office and sat down tentatively opposite a woman who looked the spitting image of Jo Brand in Getting On (how ironic!)

But it was once we got down to business that the whole thing started to unravel. You see, the NHS prefers not to share your information with other surgeries in other counties. So rather than her educating me about my asthmatic problems, it was more the other way round. However, oh no, she did not stop there. Within the space of 15 minutes, she had me recounting all my past medical history, along with the rest of my family’s problems, with elicit detail and description. And for someone that has never really paid attention to that kind of thing, I was left frantically searching my memory for any past medical history she may require. I felt less intimidated in my GCSE Biology exam!

Then I was prodded, probed and measured for all sorts of things I had never been asked to do before. She used the old imperial system for telling me my weight and height, which unless you are Albert Einstein, means very little anymore. She interrogated me repeatedly about drugs and smoking, (I have done neither), and then told me my blood pressure was too high for my age, and so did it again so that she could just check. Surprise surprise, she then said it must have been wrong the first time where I had walked in. You can see where my breathing problems start to come from!

So not only was the whole experience unprofessional and unnecessary, considering how quick and easy it could be in an ideal world where councils could share patients medical records with each other, but I had not even got my inhaler yet!

And what a drama that was. On my part, probably my fault for telling her it was green, not blue. After we had gone through Google images and checked various websites, with her pointing and me giving her a yes/ no answer for each one with no success, she then produced one out from under her desk. Bingo! “Yes, that’s the one!” “It’s blue, not green. You said it was green.” “It’s a bluey kind of green.”

I quickly ran off after that, wanting to forget the whole ordeal. But that is just it; it was such an ordeal that it made me think about buying the inhaler from some drug-dealer at the back of Co-op in future, which would have been a lot less stressful. Was it incompetence on her part? Probably not. What it comes down to is just another reason why the NHS in England needs to take itself seriously for once. Granted, it is an essential institution in Britain that we cannot live without. But we can pull a few strings and make a few sacrifices if needs be. Because at the moment, it really is a joke which is just not funny anymore.

Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia. 

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