Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Tyler vs the NHS

Tyler recently had to have a medical, including a chest X-ray. So, he trotted off to his GP one morning, and after the 90 minute wait, saw him. The GP quickly decided that most of the things on the medical weren't worth testing so signed everything off within 5 minutes. So far so good, thought Tyler. The GP even gave Tyler a little card to take to the local walk-in X-ray department, telling them to give me an X-ray. This five minute meeting cost Tyler the princely sum of £75, which works out more than private medical car would have done, but Tyler was in a hurry, so....

...he wandered down to the local walk-in X-ray place. Only one person was in the queue ahead of me, and I was in for my X-ray within 20 minutes. NHS efficiency had clearly improved. That was, of course, until the radiographer came back with my X-ray. She held it up in front of me, had a good look and happily reported that everything was normal (or as normal as things get for Tyler).

When I asked if I could take it back to my GP, to have the last bit of my medical completed, the problems began. I was told that the X-ray had to be posted somewhere else, where it would then be scanned and emailed back to my GP. This process would take 2 weeks (in the end, it took 3). I wasn't allowed a copy, nor would they post it to my GP, or anything *had* to be scanned by these people in the great X-ray processing department.

This, my friends, is the result of Labour's insistence on targets and top-down management. Lots of money has been spent on the service, but in real terms it is no more efficient than it was 13 years ago. Outcomes are not in focus, just box ticking - the radiographer I saw had her main focus on ticking a box, meeting a regulation and making her master's happy, rather than making sure I (the patient) had what I needed.

By the way, had there been anything wrong, it would have still taken a long time to be reported. The radiographer told me that if she did see a problem, the X-ray would still get sent to the great processing and scanning lab, though it would have an "urgent" sticker on it. This expidited process would only take 1-2 weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Do what I did, when they are not looking, whip out your phone and take a photo.