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NHS could save time and money quite easily


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I got a letter the other day asking me to make a routine appointment with my Doctor to discuss my recent blood tests.


So, phoned up surgery and the first available appointment was a month away, so I took it and put it in my diary.


I went away on holiday 2 weeks later, came back to find another letter asking me to make a routine appointment with my GP to discuss my recent blood tests. So I phoned up again, explained that I already had an appointment booked, so given the 2nd letter did I need to make a second appointment as surely I could discuss whatever it was about when I saw my Dr at the confirmed appointment I already had.


So, a second appointment booked for beginning of next month.


Yesterday went to the surgery to keep my first appointment. I was kept waiting for over an hour before I was called in.


Went into Dr's room and the first question I got asked was "What can I do for you?" So I replied "I don't know, it was you that asked me to make an appointment!"


"Oh right" she said looking somewhat surprised, and then asked if I was on Statins. "No" says I, "I just take the pills that are prescribed to me" So she told me that my cholestrol was a bit high and she was surprised that I had not been prescribed statins to help bring it down.


"How do you feel otherwise?" she asked. "Fine" says I. She then told me that she would write to the cardiac unit to ask why I was not on statins and then get back to me within the next month.


That took less than 2 minutes.


So I then asked why I had been asked to make another appointment which was booked in for early November?


"Have you?" she said. "I have no idea why. I don't need to see you regarding anything unless you are feeling unwell" she replied.


So on the way out I told reception that I would be cancelling the 2nd appointment as this requirement had not been required in the first place, and you would have thought I was demanding a £1million ransom. What a palava........


So, not ony did I make a wasted journey and spend 2 hours driving and sitting around for just 2 minutes of Q & A, someone else more deserving could have had my appointment and the November appointment could have been given to someone else from the off.


The whole thing could have been done on the phone (which has been the case before) and saved everyone time money and inconvenience.


Left had clearly does not talk to the right hand but they keep talking about being overworked and under financed..... Some of it in my opinion is self inflicted.

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Yup, it's the exact same up here!

In all my adult life when ever I have blood tests I then get a phone call to make an "urgent" appointment with the doctors to discus them. I ask if I can get a phone appointment, and the answer is always "No, the doctor has to see you to discus them". So I normally get an appointment within 2 weeks. I turn up, the doctor goes "Oh on the range of results you are low in most, but it's not dangerously low" . We then spend 2-4 min talking about my diet, exercise levels and if I'm feeling stressed. Conversation ends with "well it looks like this might just be normal levels for you, but I'd like to retest in 6 months."

I book blood tests for 6 months time.

Rinse and repeat the above...


Cycle breaks when I eventually get bored and simply don't book the blood tests. Sometimes they notice and phone me up and forcibly give me an appointment... :roll:

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Drs round here go the other way. My chronically ill dragon (wifes mother) is 85 years old and in and out of hospital having regular blood tests. Having been anaemic for years and getting treatment, a regular blood test showed things getting dangerously worse. The surgery did nothing until another test at the hospital 2 weeks later raised the alarm.

The surgery had just filed the results. they said it was her fault for not phoning up for the results, despite her not knowing what most of these tests are for and frankly not knowing the day of the week half the time. As a pharmacist I am frequently coming across this situation, where hospital letters are ignored until the patient phones to find out what is happening.

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I have a slightly different experience.


Blood tests every 6 months for me and so far... if there is nothing to report I hear nothing until my next appointment. so.. I was last tested in April and will be told of any non or slight changes in November when I have my next appointment.


On every occasion when there has been a change and action needed to be taken, Its always been a matter of some urgency and so.. I get a phone call from my Consultant. Usually in the evening and told whats what and either offered an appointment there and then and if this isn't appropriate I'm told to expect another phone call the next day from his secretary with an alternative date.


So.. for me at least its always been a case of 'no news is good news' and 'don't call us... we'll call you.'


If for any reason I dont turn up for clinic usually because I clean forgot... I will get a phone call from the Consultant. he wants to be sure that Im alright.. that I missed for 'innocent' reasons.


A few weeks ago i got a letter from my GP inviting me to attend the Flu clinic and offering a date and time... this was yesterday as it happens. The letter expressly said... if you can attend; do nothing. If this date is not convenient then please call us to arrange a different date.


So.. perhaps Im lucky. but it seems to me that the problems i hear are really localised and due to bad management rather than systemic failings. Do doctors and practice managers actually get training in managing? I dont know... but what i do know is that effective management is possible and is actually fantastic and totally reassuring and stress reducing when it does work.

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The letter expressly said... if you can attend; do nothing. If this date is not convenient then please call us to arrange a different date.

 

Smart business sense. They send out a few thousands letters and if nobody says they aren't attending they can invoice the government for every letter they sent out as the assumption is they will be attending so they have to have provision for every patient they contacted... And of course many will simply ignore the letter.. ca-ching!

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The letter expressly said... if you can attend; do nothing. If this date is not convenient then please call us to arrange a different date.

 

Smart business sense. They send out a few thousands letters and if nobody says they aren't attending they can invoice the government for every letter they sent out as the assumption is they will be attending so they have to have provision for every patient they contacted... And of course many will simply ignore the letter.. ca-ching!

 

why would people who need a flu jab... ignore it. that makes no sense.


we're talking people for whom the Flu is a serious disease... even life threatening.


for what its worth the clinic was rammed yesterday. old and young and i was jabbed within 5 minutes of arrival.


There were people being called by name and people being called with a "who's next?'


when i came out there was a steady stream of people arriving. I said to the receptionist - "busy busy busy" and she replied.. " first day and its been non stop."


And if it is all about money for the practice I use.. well thats fine by me so long as it continues to run as efficiently as it does. I have no complaints. let them continue to call me when they need me.. and say nothing when there is nothing to say - and never waste my time. (or theirs)

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why would people who need a flu jab... ignore it. that makes no sense.


we're talking people for whom the Flu is a serious disease... even life threatening.

 

 

I agree with you. I am one of those and I go in on Saturday to get jabbed. Where I am have a walk in clinic, and providing you are on the list, Saturday morning just join the queue, although why it could not have been done when I was having my appointment last week I don't know, but I digress....


I have come to the conclusion that much of the problem lies not with the medical staff, but with the administrators and receptionists, which is an interesting follow on to my other post about the Paramedic and undertakers.


On Saturday we get a phone call from Mother in Law who is 80 and lives in sheltered accomodation. She had an accident, which the circumstances to the cause are actually quite funny.


She had been reading a book with her legs crossed. I don't know how long she had been reading for, but she went to stand up put her leg to the floor which had gone to sleep, fell over and banged her head and her ankle was hurting to the point where she could not weight bear.


So wife dresses and shoots round by wich time MiL had recovered her senses (or the senses she retains :wink: ) and after speaking to MiL phones 111 who advise her to take her to A & E just to be on the safe side.


So, I get hauled out to drive both down to A & E. We arrive at 10.10 in the morning. I managed to park for a short while on the drop off point but MiL had difficulty in walking and there were no wheelschairs, so wife had to support her mother as best she could to get her to the new reception just inside the door where they do a quick assesment to determine whether A & E is the right place to be, and then issue a yellow or red card according to the severity of the perceived injury. Red card means you get seen sooner or soonest.


MiL is given a red card which is then handed to the main reception as you are booked in who then arranges a proper assesment before seeing the Doctor.


I went and parked the car which took about 20 minutes. When I got back they were still queuing with about 6 others stood behind them with just a few people sat down in the waiting room.


Wife tell me that the receptionists had been having a social yack since they arrived and when Wife asked if they could sort something out as her mother was in pain and getting heavy (and there was still no wheel chair available) she was bluntly told that they were busy as they carried on their social conversation.


Other patients behind were equally agitated and with the threat of a major disturbance, receptionists returned back to booking people in.


During the course of the morning the queue just got bigger and bigger, and some people who looked very poorly were made to wait. One chap was there with his wife who I thought was going to pass out was kept waiting for 40 minutes before he was able to check his wife in and this is despite asking several times if she could be seen to as she was poorly and his comments just got brushed aside as being trivial.


5 hours later, we left the Hospital. Mother in Law was disgnosed with a broken ankle, and once disgnosed she was put into a wheelchair.


Today she has to return to the fracture clinic to have the break assessed and a decision made as to whether she needs a pot putting on, so the process starts all over again.


The point is that I think that by and large the medical treatment we get in thos country is second to none. I will testify to that based on my own recent experiences, but it is the none medical staff that cause many of the problems we hear off.


Had the receptionists been more helpfull and professional, I am sure that MiL could have been seen and dealt with in 2 - 3 hours rather than the 5 it took as I appreciate that they (The Hospital) have Ambulance emergency admissions coming in as well which take priority, but they don't do themselves any favours sometimes.


But then being the cynic, I reckon it all linked into the car park fees. £14 for 5 hours. And the car park was full :wink: :shock: The longer you are kept waiting the more they make n parking fees....

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I'm with Gerontious on this. I have a blood test every 6 months and although I have an abnormal level for one of the things they check for, they set a higher than average threshold for this test. If I hear nothing after the blood test then it's normal (for me). My last blood test tipped over the threshold, so I got a phone call from my GP to say that he was going to refer me to the main hospital in our area. Within a couple of days I got a letter from the hospital advising me of an appointment. I also got a letter from my GP confirming this. I then got another letter from the hospital advising me of an appointment for an MRI scan, which I had this morning. So far it has all been dealt with quickly and efficiently by both my GP and the main hospital.

So, I guess it's the luck of the draw where you're located and who your local health care group is......but I have absolutely no complaints about mine...... 8-)

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I had a hernia op on Saturday and the medical staff where great. The administration staff where pretty useless as I waited over an hour without information really forthcoming.


However I would use that location again as the nurses, surgeon and anaesthesatist where all great.


Just the receptionist who was as much use as a chocolate teapot.

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But then being the cynic, I reckon it all linked into the car park fees. £14 for 5 hours. And the car park was full :wink: :shock: The longer you are kept waiting the more they make n parking fees....

 

Most Trusts do not receive the parking fees. So, no.

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Smart business sense. They send out a few thousands letters and if nobody says they aren't attending they can invoice the government for every letter they sent out as the assumption is they will be attending so they have to have provision for every patient they contacted... And of course many will simply ignore the letter.. ca-ching!

 

The government do not get invoiced.


So, again, no.

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