When I saw LC recently he referred me to the specialist dental hospital because of the problems EDS'ers can have with local anaesthetics and ridiculously keen to dislocate jaws. My appointment is tomorrow.
For some reason best known to themselves the authorities (NHS, Local council, who knows?) have rearranged parking for the hospitals so now the disabled parking is in a multi storey car park some distance from the hospital. Knowing this I went to considerable efforts to find a friend who would have hours of free time in the middle of the working day to help me get from the car park to the hospital. It's not an easy task as the vast majority of my friends work, and the odd few who don't are no more able to push a wheelchair across town than I am. Fortunately one of my friends is a student and was able to rearrange her schedule to come with me.
The dental hospital have just phoned to cancel the appointment. Big brownie points for giving as much notice as they could, and as I said on the phone, people get sick and things need to be changed. S'fine by me.
I thought I'd grab the opportunity to ask about parking. Can the hospital perhaps arrange for porters to assist people to and from the car parks? Apparently it's much too far for that. I was told to see my GP to book an ambulance. I demurred saying that it seemed a terribly expensive way of solving a problem and shockingly wasteful when I'm perfectly capable of driving myself to the appointment. The kindly girl on the other end of the phone informed me quite firmly that I did need it, but that more importantly 'everyone does it, so why shouldn't you?'
Erm, because it's wrong, that's why! It's that kind of attitude (however helpful she was trying to be) which is bringing the NHS to it's knees. That and the inability to make local decisions. An ambulance is expensive, especially as it's a 40 minute or so drive to the hospital from my home which includes road tolls. I don't need an ambulance* as I can drive. The cheap, practical solution that I can immediately think of would be to issue vouchers or set up a contract with a local taxi firm to take patients to and from the car park as this situation must be very common. Ambulances/patient transport could then be reserved for those with a clinical need cutting costs enormously.
But, it's the NHS. Everyone thinks it's free and everyone does it. So why not get an ambulance like the girl advised. I guess that depends on whether we still want an NHS in 5 years time.
*Alright, yes I'm also a stubborn cow who doesn't want to go in an ambulance