Last Monday I visited the doctor. This was a challenge. To move at all takes psyching up and much planning. Sometimes I move my legs and I wince, other times all is fine. Part of the added stress is the not knowing. Will I or won’t I need to growl? Will I get stuck?
The doctor was most sympathetic and insisted I would be seen within the week at the hospital where I had the previous operations carried out.
Tick tock tock tock. Managed to wait until Thursday before calling to discover that the referral letter had been faxed that morning.
Through creative questioning I discovered who was the best person to call at the hospital. There are many steps before a patient gets within a sniff of an appointment.
From the first contact they are: receive letter, review to check secret code of urgency, best consultant for the job is picked, consultant’s secretary receives letter, it is reviewed, secret code of urgency is discussed, best consultant for the job agreed or changed, if changed throw a six and start again – do not pass go, if agreed code again discussed and when the planets align the letter is sent to the patient for patient to call to book appointment.
At any stage the notes can be lost in translation. In between each stage everything floats about in a limbo world where space and time become dark matter. We know it’s there but can’t actually get hold of it.
Average wait from initial contact is 12 weeks, 6 if special, less if deemed really urgent. If patient hasn’t heard within 2/3 weeks they are welcome to get in touch. Average time to begin to ‘be sorted’ in one-way or another is 4/5 months.
It is hard to be cross with anyone as everyone is charming, honest and as helpful as they can be. The system however, sucks. Advice given, often – if really in a pickle go to A&E.
Or, phone clinic and book an appointment to be seen in a week. It comes down to how much is the value of time?
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