Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another nail in the coffin

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 previou
s 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!


The Goldfish 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.

Could they not send you a porter with a w/chair to meet you at your car, and take you through to the clinic? I believe they will do this, but because it's a little odd, you may have to ask specifically.

The two or three strikes and you're out is common and very frustrating - but I'm afraid they do have to deal with an awful lot of time-wasters.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

The Goldfish: You'd think wouldn't you?! I asked exactly that last time I phoned and apparently it's not an option, the car park is too far away! Stupid is....
I don't mind the 3 strike and you're out rule if people are just not turning up, but when people are phoning well in advance to give notice I think it's unreasonable and purely to do with keeping waiting lists looking good. BG

alhi said...

All this is also yet more evidence that people are only paying lip service to the requirement to have disabled facilities.
I remember being about 2-3 weeks post op from the hip replacement and had to go back and see the surgeon because the wound was seeping. I was still on 2 crutches and fairly doped up on painkillers as well and asked a nurse in outpatients where the disabled toilets were (more room, higher seat etc) and was asked snootily could I not use the ordinary loos. I said no I had just had a hip replacement and left it at that. But I thought afterwards that I should have asked for her name and reported her. Like you, I would have expected some sort of understanding and caring from nurses.

Fire Byrd said...

Your right the NHS is special and should be valued, but isn't.Not by the Government, not by the people who abuse it. So that the people who do want to use it are caught in a trap insitigated by other people's behaviour.
Last week in the surgery I work for there were 63 DNA (did not attends) including one my clients. I don't know how much money that wastes in total but my hour costs the NHS £30.And because they didn't let anyone know they weren't atending those slots could not be offered to others.
So no wonder the receptionist was pleased to talk to you in the end, you're one of the good guys.

Mr. Nighttime said...

It is not uncommon over here these days that if you cancel a doctor or dentist appointment in less than 24 hours, your insurance will be charged for the entire visit and you will still have to pay the copay. Some offices even require a 48 hour notice for cancellation.

As for competition, you can take a lesson from us: It doesn't work. Costs are still too high, service can vary from excellent to horrid (I've seen it all), and office staff, with some exceptions, are grossly underpaid as well. Not to mention that docs affiliated with HMO's here (read - insurance companies masquerading as HMO's) are literally on timetables. They are only allowed to spend so much time with patients, not really getting to know what is going on.

Still, I have to say that your NHS worries me as well. While we need some sort of universal health care coverage here in the States, the model over by you does not inspire me. There has to be a better way, but I am afraid of the government here screwing it up.

Dark Side said...

Good to hear you got sorted at last and also found a good staff member to deal with, they really are worth their weight in gold!!

On the DNA's note our GP's surgery had over 400 dna's last month but they don't have the same rights as dental and can't just strike you off. But 400 people not turning up for an appointment is atrocious don't you think...xx

steph said...

I love your logic, Bendy

The NHS would do well to listen.

'Nuf said!


hehehehe,,, i got same situation with you. lols

LceeL said...

Oh, yes, privatization works ... just look at us here in the States. I mean, ours works- as long as you don't get sick or have a pre-existing condition, or something. Oh, and DO have a job - and DO make sure to keep it, lest your medical bills drive you bankurpt. But yes, privatization works. Yup.

having my cake said...

Sadly, consideration is not a keyword in the vocabulary of many people these days.