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Why the NHS needs Reform

We’re constantly told about being more efficient – and minimising un-necessary use of fossil fuels, yes?

Well, with that in mind, many weeks ago – I think in September I made an appointment to have a small bump removed from my finger – apparently something caused by bone wear and tear – not painful but REALLY awkward, embarrassing and prone to catching on things. I went to see my doctor who gave me a date a few days later – I agreed and she booked me into the local hospital. I went there a few days later and was checked out, given an MRSA test, photographed and X-rayed – and a few days after that, the bump was removed. How efficient is that?

No, just kidding. My doctor told me I’d have to wait until November (which was a while off at the time) for the local hospital but kindly offered to speed the job up by sending me to Washington (the UK version) hospital.  I agreed for the sake of getting it out of the way.

A 72 mile round trip, I headed off a week or so later to the hospital and saw the doctor – who arranged for an instant X-ray and told me he could not operate until November – completely defeating the object of travelling all the way to Washington. I cooperated as it was now too late to mess them about.

On the way out they said I’d have to come back in to have a photo of my finger taken… but not now!

Another 73 miles round trip a guy took a photo of my finger in ordinary light with an ordinary camera – the kind of thing I could have done at home with my mobile phone and emailed – or indeed the doctor or better yet the X-ray technician could have done that on my first trip while in the X-ray room!!

As the operation was nearing,  I got a call to say I could NOT come in for the operation before I’d had a test for MRSA. More time passed and another 72 miles round trip and that was over – and MAYBE they would have the results in time for my mid-day surgery that week, if not I would have to wait around for a while (not that anyone asked if this affected my job).

You just don’t GET any less efficient than this – nearly 300 miles of fossil fuels and the most convoluted business practice you can imagine! This is how the NHS operates today. Nothing wrong with the skills of the people I’ve met OR the politeness OR the hospital – but their organisation skills STINK. You don’t SEE the cost to the UK because the NHS will only record THEIR costs. By the time I was finished, I’d used 9 gallons or so of petrol and lost what, 2 days of productive hours? – all this for a tiny operation.

Now I will end this on a positive note, the service other than the efficiency was excellent, the people friendly, the operation done well. I arrived for my 1.10pm appointment a few minutes early and was seen almost immediately. An hour later I was out of the door with a bandage on my finger after something like 40 minutes of hacking or whatever the doctor did (I didn’t watch). Good people, good kit, good service but someone needs to sit down and consider the overall costs, not just theirs – that could have been handled in 2 visits.

Days later the finger is still bandaged to let the stitching heal, feels good, no surprises, I reckon the weekend will see the bandage off. Lovely.

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