For the want of a nail....

4/01/2009 11:42:00 am BenefitScroungingScum 13 Comments

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


I really wish that everyone from the PM down to those people happy to use ambulances as taxis would start thinking of the money they waste as their own.

Then perhaps they would see that nothing is free, it is all paid for by tax. Unfortunately, even though tax receipts are dropping, the mindset will never change.

Casdok said...


No Bendy, you're right, it's not a good use for an ambulance, and far more expensive than setting up some sort of shuttle service - which btw, many hospitals here do. There's a service here in Rochester called Lift Line, that specializes in transport for those that either are disabled, or for the elderly that can no longer drive.

Nice to know that bureaucratic stupidity knows no borders.

Madison Rose said...

Good grief! I don't blame you for stubbornly refusing an ambulance - it is just so stupid that they can't find a more sensible solution.

Dark Side said...

you are so right Bendy and I am sure there are plenty of stretcher monkeys out there who agree not least Big Bro!...xx

stephh said...

Good on ye!

Joanna Cake said...

I never fail to be amazed by some of the Institutional stupidity you highlight on your blog. It just beggars belief and there seems to be bugger all that can be done about it :(

Achelois said...

bendy you are right it is stupid. There is no point me saying anymore you have said it so well already. Worried about your severe autonomic dysfunction episodes also! Agree you are stubborn also but not a cow - conversly, to be honest if you have reactions like I do after the dentist in my EDS way, you may be best placed in an ambulance for the return journey!!

Nicey said...

That is absolutly pants but well done you for standing strong....

Anonymous said...

Parking up in in the St Marks car park in Lincoln, I shoved the motor into a disabled bay. "disabled NOT exempt from charges" states the sign, but where IS the ticket machine?


Its not just hospital mamagement that have only one brain cell to share around

That is pure mental! I mean, God invented disabled parking spaces for people such as yourself, who can drive and who could get themselves there if only there were somewhere to park.

The alternative of using an ambulance and crew as a taxi services is astonishingly wasteful and just ...wrong. What if someone had a heart attack while you were using the ambulance as a taxi? Would they ask you to share? would they turf you out onto the side of the road and take the needier case, or would they leave the other person to wait; -and possibly die while waiting- for the next ambulance?


Anonymous said...

I suspect, tho' I'm prepared to be corrected, that the ambulance in question is the patient transport variety rather than the emergency variety... so little effect on heart attack victims, although some on the people with conditions that prevent them driving at all.
If they can't sort themselves out with disabled parking within range of clinics (which I take as a sign of deep, deep administrative incompetence), then yes, a taxi service seems sensible.

spleenal said...

Perhaps an ambulance from the car park to the hospital.
Or if the car park is tall enough... a really long water slide?