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Friday, 10 July 2009

They Have Ears, But They Hear Not!

Yesterday I spent about 10 minutes completing an Ipsos Mori survey on behalf of the National Health Service about the treatment I receive from my local doctor. That's about the same length of an average appointment but barely 11% of the time it takes me to do the return journey on foot.

Once, after a 45 minute walk to the surgery, I was kept waiting half-an-hour for an appointment with the part-time district nurse to have my ears syringed. In between seeing other patients, she walked out of her consulting room several times for a chat with other staff and when, finally, she deigned to see me, refused to treat me as my ears were blocked. Neither of us liked what we then heard!

I'm very fond of my doctor - who's about the same age as my husband - and so about to retire. Like Brian, he seems in fine fettle, but with a head of glossy hair that must be the envy of many younger men. He and his wife, who had been in practice with him and retired some years ago, have passed on their outrageous good looks to their son who has now joined the surgery.

So their practice is a great family business where the doctors and most of the staff get to know their patients well over many years. I think the NHS survey in part was to decide whether to complete the move towards large, anonymous 'health centres', where patients are treated by whoever is available. I think it's an awful idea.

Further the survey, which discussed generalities, could not cover quirk of personality. Most staff are kind and considerate and I don't think the nurse mentioned above is naturally unpleasant - just rather daft.

Thank heaven, I don't need to visit my GP too often, but presently I'm having eye treatment at a hospital in South Manchester. The medical staff are superb. But again, some of the clerical team need a shake-up. After my most recent injection, I tried to make a follow-up appointment as per the consultant's request. After several frustrating and largely unnecessary phone calls last week, yesterday I was pestered by an officious receptionist about a non-existent appointment for another injection when I'll be out-of-town on holiday.

Giant organisations and even smaller groups can make rules and regulations aplenty but they they'll never be able to legislate for native idiocy.


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