I damaged my back in an electrocution at school in the 70’s (need to write about that!). Since then I’ve enjoyed near permanent back pain.
I\’ve also had 5 rear-end shunts in the car and done further damage to my neck (I hasten to add that none were my fault and I was stationery in every RTA!).
So when I started getting pins and needles down my left arm about 18 months ago, I thought little of it and accommodated this new experience. But last summer it got worse and seemed to have developed into a further bout of Supraspinatus Tendonitis in my left shoulder. This is agony, and the pain relief does not really work unless you get onto a morphine drip or heavy duty codeine. So after some co-Dydramol and ibuprofen treatment on and off last year I finally went for a orthopaedics appointment. This was supposed to have been booked via “Choose and Book”, however the “computer’s down” got us and I had to go away.
TWO WEEKS later and this “instantaneous” system was still in #FAIL mode. It seems that when choose and book fails, the system reverts to the paper based system and my appointment was still not in process. So I challenged the surgery – could they not logon to choose and book, call me, and then complete the process instead of me getting an appointment I could not make and then end in a spiral down to hell? Seems that this brilliant idea was new, and so we tried it – it worked. Hallelujah.
The appointment came and went well, and being analytical I enjoyed the diagnostic processes, and ended up with the expected referral to the physiotherapy department.
A week later and a letter arrived and this is where things in the NHS started to really show it’s #FAIL colours. The appointment was with the specialist and not for physiotherapy – or so it seemed. So I had to call them to find out; and yes, it is possible to get a follow up appointment for treatment that is not yet booked. That\’s clever., not. #FAIL.
So I had to call the surgery – they advised me to call the physio department.
I called the number given, ask for physiotherapy and get put through. I’m not on record. Damn. However it transpired that although I called one hospital the switchboard had transferred my call to a remote physio department. Seems I HAVE TO KNOW that there is more than one department on the end of the phone line, even though the one they put me through to is in another county. The idea of checking with the caller which physio department you want is anathema. #FAIL
So I call again, get put through to the right department, and get the answerphone and leave a message.
Later in the day I am called back, and an appointment made. But it seems to me that without my pro-active call; I would still be outside the system waiting for an appointment. #FAIL
My point is, that for a basically fit and OK (but injured) person this is an annoyance only. For someone who is seriously unwell or injured – do they have the energy to go through these hoops?
But more importantly, if the NHS is the largest employer in the land and has seen records sums invested. WHY THE HELL IS IT STILL SO DISJOINTED???