Inefficiences in the NHS

First, let me just say I am not an “NHS basher”. Far from it. Healthcare that is free at the point of use is something to be celebrated, cherished and protected. But…

Sometimes you do have to wonder at the inefficienes in the system. And how much wasted money these must cost!

My lovely son is about to go in for a hernia operation. I say “about to” as if its a couple of weeks a way. Actually it was supposed to be a couple of weeks a way. Now it is tomorrow. But we only were informed of this on Friday. Friday!!

The whole thing has been poorly handled and it makes us nervous for tomorrow.

Our local hospital in the Royal Surrey at Guildford, where he is under the care of a paediatric consultant. Our GP refered J to her and she then, in turn, refered J on to the specialist at St Georges in Tooting. As he runs a clinic at the Royal Surrey he agreed to see J there and undertake the operation there.

We duly received the paperwork for J to go in and have an x-ray on his neck to check for atlantoaxial subluxation. My wife took him out of school and off they trogged. The x-ray dept. knew nothing about it and sent them away. A phone call to the specialists office and my wife is speaking to someone who clearly does not have the required notes and, more worryingly, has no idea J has Down Syndrome.

Still, we are not overly concerned about not having the x-ray. He had one a few years ago looking for atlantoaxial subluxation when he had his adenoids out and he was given the all clear then. Besides, Royal Surrey operate a walk-in clinic for x-rays so we can get one if required. We’ll find out at the pre-op appointment.

Pre-op appointment was supposed to be last Friday. But literally as my wife and son were leaving the house the phone rings and its the specialists office at St Georges Hospital cancelling the appointment, telling us there’s no need for it as they have all the necessary expertise and, by the way, the operation has been brought forward to Monday.

We hastily re-arrange all our plans whilst mumbling about the poor communication and organistion as well as wondering how we are going to explain to J that he will not be going to school on Monday but instead will be undergoing a, no-doubt for him, quite traumatic surgery.

Saturday we get a letter from the Royal Surrey appologising for the cancellation of the pre-op appointment and telling us they will be in touch when it has been rearranged.

Come on!! If we were paying for these appointments (say by going private) you can bet the system would get more efficient pretty quickly because we’d complain a lot more and demand our money back as well as recompence for time wasting.

Its not good enough. I think we’d better phone the hospital in the morning before setting off .. just to make sure its still happening.

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