I'll start with a question.
If you were given something to do at work, and it was marked urgent, how long do you reckon it'd take you to do?
A) A day?
B) A week?
C) More than a week?
D) A fortnight?
E) Um ... Meh. Dunno. Pass me one of those cakes whilst I check facebook. LOL at those kittens.
If you answered E then you clearly haven't understood the meaning of the word urgent (requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing) or, you work for the National Health Service*.
Two weeks ago my Doctor requested that I urgently had a Mirena coil inserted. The urgency wasn't because I was about to go on holiday, or to placate me because it meant a four month delay before IVF. It was because I have pre-cancerous cells bedding down in the lining of my womb and the coil is supposed to halt that growth.
The way that the NHS works means that there isn't a one-stop shop where I could get this done. My Doctor is based in the Reproductive Medicine Unit, the coil get shoved up by the specialist in the Gynaecology Unit. Physically the two units are separated by a corridor, but practically they are fathoms apart.
I saw my Doctor sign the bright yellow appointment sheet. I witnessed him tick the box marked 'urgent' rather than 'routine'.
And then nothing.
I appreciate that, despite the urgency, an appointment might still take a couple of weeks but I expected at least to get a date for the appointment quickly.
I have rung the clinic and received no response.
I have rung the Reproductive Medicine Unit and was told that the appointment request had been faxed to the Gynaecology unit.
Can I bring to you attention three points:
1. He used a bright yellow sheet of paper to denote the urgency and then faxed it. (For those young enough not to know what a fax is, whatever you send through comes out in black and white.)
2. The clinic in receipt of the fax is less than 30 seconds walk away, you don't even need to go up steps to take it there.
3. It is 2010.
So I ring again. I leave messages. I wait.
Today I left a message on an answer phone that specifies they only return calls Tuesday to Thursday. As I didn't get a returned call I can only suppose that what they actually mean is; they might possibly return a call Tuesday to Thursday, but you haven't got a hope in hell of getting a
response any other day of the week.
So I guess now it'll be next Tuesday at the earliest before I am likely to hear anything. Meanwhile time continues to seep away.
Waiting. That is the worst thing about this whole infuriating process.
No wonder the NHS calls its 'clients' patients.
* Obviously there are many, many wonderful people who work for the NHS not least my twin sister, my step-sister, Eunice, The Doc and The Dude. But seriously guys, a small number of colleagues are dragging down this wonderful institution's reputation.