Nearly Had Service (NHS)

by alexluffrum

So there I was in a certain city hospital for a routine check-up on a long term condition, which has to be managed both personally and through these aforementioned health checks. Actually let me take you back to February 2011, when I had my first visit to the same establishment. The letter I received for my appointment stated that it would be with a specific named specialist doctor. Let me say at this junction, I won’t be going into personal details of the consultation, to save any all round embarassment for you the reader, and me the writer! Back to that February appointment. I was given the clear understanding that this specific consultant would be the person with whom I would consistently review my health care for the foreseeable future. So when in April my consultation was with a young male doctor, for whom it was required to go through my whole case history, once again, I began to think there must be some better method for dealing with this whole patient/consultant process than needing to repeat the whole history over again. So now today, August 17th 2011, my third visit to the same establishment, I was greeted by, yes, my third ‘new’ consultant, who advised me he had taken over from the previous consultant, and would, yes, review my health record. The first fifteen minutes of the time spent were to go over when diagnosis took place, where it took place and why the specific courses of treatment had previously been prescribed. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m comfortable repeating the same exercise if it really is worthwhile. But what I cannot get my head around, is given the patient record systems in place (yes, I know there have been many implemented and subsequently scrapped over the course of NHS history), why is the information not properly recorded, in order that given the right levels of access and information transferability, can the ‘new’ consultants look up that information even just a few minutes prior to the latest consultation. Instead, my time, the consultant’s time, the nursing assistant’s time, the department receptionist’s time are all taken up by this lack of transferable information. What happened today makes me realise that with such basic inefficiencies, is it any wonder that the NHS is leaking enormous, valuable sums of money simply because basic information management is not properly implemented.
OK, so let me just swiftly go onto say, that for those friends who work in the NHS, this is not a slight aimed at you. My intention, as hopefully become clear, is to point a finger or two at those who are directly responsible for the management of the UK’s Healthcare Systems, or the lack thereof.
I have no experience of how the private care health organisations operate in the UK. What I do have is nearly eight years of private health care management experience from another continent. In all honesty the comparisons are so “chalk and cheese” that it leaves me speechless that the UK Health Services have not looked at other models across the globe to gain experience of best practice, or is that maybe just a little too obvious. It still leaves me with the huge question, if a certain country on a different continent can get it right, why does the UK get left behind in the management of primary health care?
I’m not sure that I have direct and specific answers to the concern, except that it does strike me, albeit somewhat sarcastically, that successive governments have been comfortable to allow these enormous financial leaks to continue, knowing the British taxpayer will continue to provide its hard-earned money into the coffers regardless.
Am I the only one to see this at the front end in such a simple way? Or are the masses who daily/weekly/monthly/annually who consult with the health professionals quite happy to turn a blind eye to the wastage, so long as they get their “free” health care?
Oh yes, and the title, well just briefly. In my visit today, I had the experience of needing to go for blood tests, x-rays and then onto the hospital pharmacy. In each situtation, there was no indication from the health professionals as to how long one would be required to wait for “service” for each of the requirements to manage my health condition. Surely another example of how inefficiences can and do lead to patient frustration, when all they/we actually are looking for is simple, basic service that will enthuse us for future visits.
Maybe things will have improved for my next visit in three months time, or am I being the eternal optimist?!
Watch this space for the next experience.