I seem to have spread quite a bit of doom and gloom about the NHS with this series of posts.
But in essence - and compared to countries where the equivalent doesn't exist at all - it's a wonderful service and one we should never give up on, but must fight to maintain.
You see, sometimes things go RIGHT!
And it's nearly always down to the hard-working and committed people working within the system.
Yesterday dad went for his appointment to have a 24 hour tape fitted to monitor his heart.
Having failed to speak to anyone in Cardiology, I gave him a letter to take with him.
Early afternoon, I received a phone call from the Cardio Dept.
A very helpful woman told me the tape had been organised as a result of his recent falls.
She explained the procedure to me and said the tape could be removed a day later and a courier would call to collect it, to save dad having to come back to the hospital.
At 5.45 his carer called saying she could get no reply from dad's flat which was in darkness.
I phoned Patient Transport (heart racing a little) but no one answered.
I tried Cardio (heart a-flutter now) assuming there would be no chance of getting through.
Instead, a Real Live Human Being answered!
She called Transport herself and, when there was no reply, she sent a colleague round in person to check what time dad had been collected.
Meanwhile, she regularly came back to the phone to apologise for keeping me hanging on.
Finally she said there was no one in the Transport Dept but maybe the traffic was bad ...
She asked me to call her back to let her know what was going on.
Having no idea what else to try, I phoned dad (heart thudding).
And guess what - he answered, sounding chirpy and energetic!
Presumably he hadn't heard the doorbell ...
I said I'd be round the next day to deal with the tape.
'Tape? What tape?'
'The one on your chest!'
'Eh? There's nothing on my chest ... Apart from some hair. There's something in my pocket though ...'
'Oh. Right.' (Heart sinking.) 'Well don't worry. I'll come tomorrow and we can sort it out then.'
'You're coming tomorrow? Oh. Hang on. There's something stuck on my chest ...'
I call Cardio back to tell them I've tracked dad down and all is well.
'Oh, thank G-d!' the woman breathed.
She really cared.
Like the woman who had called earlier, spoke to me in a way that was both clear and helpful and organised the courier.
And the carer who was concerned enough to call and alert me to a possible problem.
What a difference people who care can make ...