I received my new appointment time from the dental hospital this morning and got straight on the phone to try and rearrange it as it was for a time in the morning that I won't be able to find someone able to come with me.
Once I'd given my details I was advised by the receptionist that I could change my appointment, but if I did so again I would be discharged and need to be re-referred. The dental hospital, so I was advised, have a policy that if an appointment is changed or cancelled twice then they discharge the individual, regardless of reason or being given notice. I explained that it had been the hospital that cancelled the previous appointment (and specified such in the new appointment letter) but apparently two changes are two changes and regardless of reason they won't rearrange again.
I explained the reason I needed to change to the receptionist and that I'd previously been told to 'just get an ambulance'*. Once again I was advised to do just that, and once again I said it seemed like a terrible waste of resources when there really was no need if I could just get from the car park to the hospital. The receptionist was really quite taken aback and told me both that she thought I was unusually considerate, and that I'd be surprised how many people just get the ambulance. My reply to that was that if we were all a little more considerate the NHS would not be struggling.
After that the receptionist became much more helpful and went off to find out about the parking situation. This time I was advised that there is a small area of on road parking people with blue badges can use, but that it was only between 10am-4pm so we'd still have to cancel my appointment and rearrange for one during those hours. Fortunately that has been now been done but once again I'm horrified at the attitude towards NHS resources. It's not the receptionists fault, they are poorly paid, poorly treated admin staff who bear the brunt of people's frustrations and rudeness, which must be particularly bad with the current state of NHS dental provision.
The government seem determined to privatise the NHS, insistent competition is the way forward. Competition will only make this kind of situation worse, the only way we can save the NHS is to be more considerate. We have no idea how truly privileged we are in the UK, or how valuable health care really is. It would be a tragedy to only find that out when it's too late.
*They do mean a patient transport type ambulance rather than flashy nee naw ambulance but still!