My relationship as a patient with the nhs has been, thankfully, a short one.
In sixty years I have only used the hospital system a few times for more minor conditions and with the exception of some temperamental behaviour from one GP and an incredibly snide call handler my experiences have in the main been exemplary.
The GP, I saw face to face , so I could handle his pomposity with some assertive “ Do you talk to all your patients this way?”
Working in a large Yorkshire Teaching hospital where nurses stood no shit from anyone, grounds you when you come across senior doctors who think they are mini Gods.
Back in the 1980s nurses were more, hummmmm ….. gobby?
The call handler, I have subsequently pieced together was either fired or left his job. His supervisor blandly tried to smooth over the cracks of his behaviour by saying he doesn’t work for the department anymore.
I had rang his department to book an urology appointment which had been cancelled by the hospital due to unforeseen circumstances . While I was waiting for him to give me a new appointment , I could clearly hear the whole conversation his colleague was having with another patient. When he returned to the phone , I told him so , and said I was concerned about confidentiality.
The chap, non verbally shrugged and said Well you won’t know the person and what they were talking about .
That comment went down like a pork chop in a synagogue
What followed was an interesting debate between gobshite ( me) and bored phonehandler (him) and sensing I was not going to get anywhere with him I just asked him to sort out my phone interview with the urologist .
He gave me an appointment eight weeks later
On that afternoon , no urologist rang.
No appointment had indeed been made or registered.
I had been documented as a cancel
My kidneys are bad today.
I could have done with that appointment. My subsequent one is very soon
But it’s been an age waiting
Im seriously thinking of going against all my homegrown principles and simply going private
I am reminded of an odious neurologist who once visited my ward to assess a patient who was said to be in a persistent vegetative state. The , patient, a young boy seemed to be reacting to certain stimuli though we couldn’t be sure and the doctor was called to allay the fears of the staff who understandably were troubled by what they saw.
The consultant was brusque, rude and imposing when he asked the boys nurse what she thought, and I remember the difficulty which the nervous and inarticulate nurse had when trying to explain her worries
We examined the patient and afterwards the consultant confirmed his original diagnoses referring to the request to review as stupid and emotional bordering on the histrionic!
He looked at me , the nurse in charge, for affirmation
“ Well You’re a bit of an arsehole”
Was all I could manage