Changing times of community healthcare in Britain

Over this weekend past my eldest daughter’s head cold turned for the worse.  Initially I was irritated. She had spent the best part of the week away from the house only to return complaining she felt really unwell just as I was winding down from the week gone. Why does she bring me nursing duty – the voice in my head kept prompting? Then I remembered I was exactly the same – always took myself off to my mum when I was unwell for some TLC.

Anyways, at almost half eleven on Sunday night, her condition had worsened. Breathing was becoming an issue. Given it was the weekend, a Sunday at that, I immediately had a sinking feeling getting emergency response wasn’t going to be easy!  So off to the kitchen downstairs to make her a home remedy I went. I know she hates this, but believe me, I didn’t fancy my chances at spending half the night in A&E at my local hospital awaiting to be triaged and only to be sent home 3hrs after with a advise to make an appointment with the GP!  I know the drill. Been at it for the last 18yrs and it only seems to get worse with every cuts to the health budget which impacts on healthcare delivery.  Even my middle daughter prefers to to put up with the pain from her juvenile arthritis rather than go through the bureaucratic processing which has become a mental aptitude test.  She is a tough cookie – but even so, there’s a limit to one’s patience and I sincerely believe the NHS has become a testing ground to one’s mental ability. This is applicable to those who work in it and those that receive service (or not) from it.

I am not sure if it is the family gatherings that have seen so many of us falling sick with some sort of virus. All I can state is that it certainly hasn’t been fun and games for the past 4 months! There seems to be a kind of revolving door for viruses visiting upon us all which  are not in a hurry to leave.

My brother’s family is so versed with the cold virus or is it the flu virus – I’m not even sure anymore what’s what. All I know is that they are constantly recovering or exchanging the degree of pain inflicted from these cyclical viruses.  it is not helped when we share degrees of frustrating healthcare support that is the norm. This is just too maddening if not depressing. I thought it was just me hallucinating from the over the counter medication or home remedies I am now too familiar with.  Listening to my brother who is now seriously down with what sounds like a chest infection and is to have some tests to rule out anything serious, I can’t help but think this is a nationwide problem. It helps also to be in the medical profession to insist to the GP to refer for tests – because if you are not, they are in a hurry to reassure and brush you off most of the time.

Gone are the days when you called your GP to report you were not well but advised you had a house full of little people who felt it was their aim on this planet to share everything they picked up from school with you. Back then. and I’m talking 90’s now, not 18th century or any time round about the plague and all that…you could call your GP, and him/her knowing your family set-up would pay you a home visit; where possible even bring you some medication to tide you over until you could personally go collect it personally from the chemist.  Now, I’m talking the 21st century whereby you call a GP and get an automated voice reading you the riot act before prompting you to press this or that number so that you speak to so and so. This can prove quite tricky when your head is not compliant with pain-free reality or pray even, can be able to speak!  Believe me. It can be a hurdle comparable to racing against Usain Bolt on any day.  

Your call to the GP surgery is further compounded by the receptionist etc..  You eventually get a human voice in real time that initially offers you an appointment in two weeks to your present crisis but who then suggest you call back at a particular time for an emergency appointment.  Now get this: when you call back at that advised time, all the damn emergency appointments have been taken! Yes. There’s a lot of persons out there in the community on a rotating emergency recall button.  

It’s like GP receptionists have been programmed to be devoid of commonsense, yet can bully you to taking what’s on the  telephone menu!  Now unless I’m mistaken of the current goings on of illness, unlike a vehicle, it is not yet possible for your body to tell or let you know it will be breaking down due to an viral infection especially and that you need to book yourself in for a check up. I don’t know and please listen up all you GP receptionists – get with the program. To my knowledge, technology is still being developed, but human microchips are not yet in the processing plant of the NHS to make your jobs easier for the patient conveyor belt. Newsflash: These damn emergency appointments which when you are truly incapacitated prove to be challenging especially when your body refuses to give you an appointment system when it will be ill.  Receptionists, you need to switch to humanoid settings and pay particular attention to the caller!  Believe me, we are not calling out of boredom to come admire the pamphlets or decor in the GP surgery! If you are the demi-gods you aspire to be, you would work it out.

Quite a happy bunny I am, NOT, you are thinking.  Well, you might see why I’m this way after the crap I’ve been dealt with this Non Hospitable Service on occasions.

Pray explain. What’s the point of calling for an appointment to see a GP or dentist when you are unwell, only to be offered a 2 weeks or 2months option. To compound this irritation to then end up at a hospital A&E and be drilled about why you didn’t see a GP first?  Where is Britain’s healthcare heading to when you see mentally ill persons roaming the streets and using buses as mobile rest points?

The health of persons is reflected on their ability to work… those in governance need to revise their health policies if they are to lay claim to the hype on getting Britain working etc and that we are all one big happy society in it together singsong.


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