Friday, October 26, 2007

Debi and her Dad. Part 6

So yesterday when I go to dad I find an appointments card for a 24hr tape at Barnet Hospital Cardiology Dept next Wed.
I have no idea what this is about or where it's come from - and of course dad has no recollection either.

I phone patient transport to arrange for him to get there.
They tell me they can't accept a booking from me - it has to be arranged by the dept.
I phone the Cardio Dept.
Answer machine asks me to leave a message and they'll get back to me.
I leave a message saying I'll be at dad's for the next hour or so and leaving his number.
An hour later I call again and leave another message asking them NOT to call dad as he'll just be confused.
I leave my home no and mobile.

No response.

This morning I try ringing Cardio again.
Answer machine says there's no more space for messages and to ring another extension or dial zero.
I dial zero and am told it's not possible to connect me.
I ring the main switchboard.
They ask for the name of dad's consultant.
I say I have no idea but the appointment is for a 24hr tape - which I assume means he will also have to return the following day.
The operator says all the numbers are on voicemail.
She suggests explaining to transport.
She transfers me to transport.
Transport say they can't possibly accept the booking from me.
I should try the GP.
(Oy vey!)

I call the GP.
Sorry, the receptionist tells me, they can only arrange a first transport and this isn't dad's first.
I patiently explain the problem and she says she'll make an exception 'just this once' and will arrange it.

Of course I'm still going to need to talk to the dept as I need to know if he'll have to go back the following day to have the tape removed.


Jan said...

The very fact you are doing all this for your dad is great and he must certainly appreciate it/you
(Even if this appreciation is not expressed )

Anonymous said...

Debi, I have more experience of this type of thing this week to add to the catalogue of similar experiences generated this year. The "best" (read "worst" or "biggest horror") has to be a tie between something that happened to my late father and something that happened to my mother earlier this year.

In the case of my late and, at that stage confused father, he was transferred to another hospital miles away, finally arriving at about 22:30, having waited for an ambulance for most of the day. Luckily, I was able to be there to be a familiar face and to see him settled as well as was possible.

My mother booked PTS via her GP practice for an essential hospital appointment but the transport never turned up. It transpired that even though the person at the other end of the phone had taken all the details at the time of the call, there was no record of the booking "on the system". Hence no PTS transport on the day.

As for this week, all I can say is that something can be agreed one day and booted into the stratosphere as a figment of imagination within 24 hrs.

It is not easy at all.

NHS admin is, in my experience, seriously lacking. Ancillary services also pay no attention to the specific needs of patients. Spend a night in A&E? You will be rewarded with a cooked breakfast of sausages, eggs and a piece of saturated toast somewhere underneath the swimming pool of baked beans heaped on the plate. Not good for someone admitted with chest pains, I'd imagine. Not good for someone admitted with diverticular disease, just after a haemorrhage and who has been told to eat bran flakes for brekkie...

I could go on, but I won't.

Debi, you are doing the right thing. It takes time, but it's worth it. Without relatives who care and who are also knowledgeable, patients seem to be at the behest of a non-thinking organisation that forgets the sensitivites of the patients and their immediate needs.

I was actually thanked earlier this year for following up on a lost appointment. It transpired that four patients had fallen between the cracks when it came to admin and the need for re-arranging procedures and appointments at another hospital after one had discontinued a certain procedure.

I hate to think of those who have no relatives to look after their interests. It's a sad world in hospital and it often involves someone with some mettle to ensure that things happen as they should and on a timely basis. (Uh oh, forget the timely...)

Debi, you're a star! Your father needs you right now and you are there for him.

Unknown said...

Oy vey doesn't even begin to cover it, Debi. All these experiences makes for a very sad chronicle of NHS inefficiency and the frustration experienced by patients and their families. It doesn't leave one with much hope or optimism.
I just thank god that you're there for your dad - one wonders what happens to those who don't have family to look out for them.

Unknown said...

I am thinking of issuing a fatwa on the National Health Service - not terribly healthy is it?

S. Kearney said...

Bloody hell, Debi! You'd need to be a saint! Were you calm after all this? I hope it works out to be less complicated in the end. :-)

Debi said...

Jan - dad never takes anything for granted and frequently says I make his life worth living. His appreciation - and general gorgeousness! - means anything I do never feels burdensome. Just frustrating on his behalf.

Cfr - thanks for sharing this. I know you have had more than your fair share of frustration at dealing with the system too. I did wonder how far I should go in complaining - but in the end I've decided to keep my focus strictly on getting what dad needs rather than venting my own spleen. Apart from here of course!

Ab Van - I'm appalled at the thought of what must happen to those who don't have loved ones to do this stuff for them. That, for me, is the truly frightening thing.

Minx - could be time to send in dad's army?

Shamey - it's NEVER uncomplicated unfortunately. It's lucky I have this space to let off steam.