It seems that in order not to breach the waiting time target, clinics like these are quadruple booked. 200 patients were booked in this afternoon with no increase in the four doctors usually on duty as when there are 50 patients. I've been handed a copy of the complaint form to fill in - they have a ready supply. Yet most people around me declined the form, preferring to moan rather than write. The receptionists were shaking their heads even as we arrived; “its mad this clinic - just look at it - well if you want to wait...”. The concerned mother in me felt we should - how otherwise will we know if Jem's finger bone is back in one piece? ... So the patients get seen, after 2 -3 hour waits, by doctors who are exhausted and the hospital gets to tick its box for no breach of waiting times. Discretion and discernment have gone for the doctor and clinic manager, replaced with frustration and anger from patients.
After 2 hrs & 35 minutes we get to see the Doc. He is very apologetic. “It’s not your fault,” I say & he almost keels over with surprise. I reassured him that I understood the impact of the waiting time targets, and in between thanking me [“did you hear, he thanked you three times mummy…...why?” said Jem] for being ‘so patient and kind’, he relates tales of the abuse he has had during the afternoon from other patients. That’s why the most prominent posters now in this clinic are the ones saying that the staff have a right to work free from abuse and agro from patients. Ultimately, until managers and clinicians can work together with patients, and have their focus on efficiency and healing, scenes like this will continue. With the Department of Health dictating and imposing successive, inflexible, indiscriminate targets on the health service there will always be unintended consequences. They are too remote, never have the day-to-day experience that frontline professionals can bring and don’t appreciate the freedoms required for good working relationships. The medical and clerical professionals on whom we rely, who are the NHS, deserve the freedom and respect to do their jobs based on their experience and knowledge. They [we – I am a health professional too] do want to deliver a high standard of work and we go to work each day precisely to enable healing and restoration. Facilitating this needs to be the aim of a national health service, and to do this it doesn’t have to be nationalized.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Blogging in an NHS Waiting Room
If you want to know why the NHS is in an administrative mess read THIS post on the 2020health.org site. It is a live 'waiting room' blog. Here is the most relevant extract...