Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

NHS an update - still no word from my MP

As you know I wrote to my MP last week asking her some questions about the booking system for NHS appointments.  I was going to say that I have not received a reply, but that is not strictly correct:

There was an auto reply to the email, which read as follows;


Jackie Doyle-Price MP
Member of Parliament for Thurrock

Westminster Tel. 020 7219 7171
Constituency Tel. 01375 802029

Thank you for your email, which will be dealt with as soon as possible.

If you are a constituent living in Thurrock, please ensure that you have provided your full name and address. No emails will be answered unless a full address is provided. A telephone number would be appreciated but is not absolutely necessary.

Please note that there is a strict Parliamentary convention that MPs can only deal with matters raised by people from their own constituency.

I receive a large number of emails, letters and phone calls each day and I will try to reply as soon as possible. However, please note that all communications, including emails, are dealt with in the order they are received.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Jackie Doyle-Price

To be honest this is probably more than I actually hoped for and as it has only been one week I am probably being an impatient patient.  So I will curb my usual frustrations and see if a more formal reply actually turns up.

In the meantime and in regard to hospital appointments I can report the following;

My ire was irked at the fact that my Doctor referred me to some outfit called Fortis who would then make the hospital appointment for me at the audiology department to have my hearing tested.  

Fortis eventually sent me a letter only after I called them. But during the course of that call I discovered that they were making an appointment for me in a hospital that, if you do not have your own transport, is difficult to get to from where I live.  So during the course of the call they agreed to make me another appointment at a hospital that is only a hop skip and a jump from my front door!

They then sent me two letters, the one for the original booking and one for the new booking!  Banks charge anything from £12.00 to £25.00 to send you a letter so how much does Fortis charge the NHS for sending them?  I also note from the leaflet that I was given that Fortis appears to be owned by a group of local like minded GP's.  So that means that they are getting their £1000k plus fee from the NHS for providing  the basic GP service but now they are also charging the NHS to send out letters to patients for appointments.  Well on the face of it ok but then you discover that you still have to receive a letter from the NHS appointment centre and the specialists clinic, confirming the appointment, so the whole system is being duplicated.  Now I ask you,  "Is It Me"?  "Am I being a particular dumbfuck here or is it them"? 

The Labour government took us into bankruptcy both Economically and Morally leaving a note for the ConDems as they exited stage left informing them there was no money left.

The Condems took this note literally and started slashing all internal UK departments spending while maintaining the Department for Overseas Developments budget for Aid and Assistance elsewhere, including £295 million per year to India.  India is, if you aren't already aware, a Nuclear Power and has a Space Programme. For shits sake even America is now saying that it [sadly] can't afford to maintain it's own space programme, yet we give India £295 million pounds a year!

I'm losing the plot here..... NHS appointment systems, well update.  Last week Ishbel got a phone call at home from Orsett Hospital to say that the audiology department might be able to give me an earlier appointment if I phoned them, that was on Thursday, so three letters and a phone call.  Anyway I forgot to do this on Friday and now I wish I had forgotten yesterday, because I made that call............. and this is how it went.

10. 50 AM called the number got an automated system which I later discovered is named, "The Oracle" Now I am seriously looking over my shoulder to see if Mr Smith from the Matrix is about to take over my body and by the end of the 'call' I was wishing he had.

Do you remember that scene in The Matrix with Neo and The Oracle in the kiddies play area and she says to him, "The bad news is there is now know way that you can know whether I am here to help you or not"?  well, I have got news for you if you are in the UK and have to phone an NHS number that employs this system;


No, she is there to make your life miserable and frustrated, she is there to deflect you from the people who are still probably sitting there drinking coffee and saying to each other over their digestive biscuits,,

"I wonder how many sad frustrated dickhead patients we have managed to feck up today, when they thought they would get one of us and we gave them this system, anyone for another coffee or herbal tea"

Oracle says, " You have reached Basildon NHS trust (or words to that effect) please speak the name of the department you require or dial the extension number now". 

Now I am a sad bastard when I get a hospital appointment letter, I scan it in to my computer, wasting space I know, and stuff the original in my 'manbag' that I carry around with me - Ishbel doesn't like this but that's another story for later- 

So, I already have the letter on screen and I am busy looking for the extension number  THERE ISN'T ONE (check all the other letters I have later NONE OF THEM HAVE AN EXTENSION NUMBER - SO WHY ASK THE FECKING QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me, I ask for,  "ENT"
Oracle, "I am putting you through to A and E unless you say cancel, you may also ask for the operator"
Me, "Cancel", then ask for "Ear Nose and Throat"
Oracle, "I am putting you through to elderly services department unless you say cancel, you may also ask for the operator " 
Me, trying to be clever as I become more and more senile and elderly by the fecking minute, "Cancel" then I ask for "Orsett Hospital Ear Nose and Throat Department"
Oracle, " I am putting you through to Orsett ward now unless you say cancel, you mat also ask for the operator"

The phone starts ringing and by this time it is 10.54 AM and the phone rings and rings and rings and rings and rings for two minutes and eventually is answered.

Female voice, "Hello, ENT emergency how can I help""
Me, "Uh, Oh, did you say ENT emergency"?
Female voice, " Yes, how can I help"?
Me, " Well I don't know if you can I phoned Basildon to get through to ENT Appointments, but your......"
Female voice, "Oh, you got the machine then...."
Me, "Yes, I have an appointment for ........
Female voice, "We don't do appointments, do you have wax in your ear"

I though she was being rude now, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt after all I am maybe going deaf (and clearly Fecking insane)

Me, "No, it was about an appointment and I asked for ENT appointments but it clearly is not impressed with my Scottish accent"
Female voice, "Well sorry, can't help you you will need to ring them"
Me, pleading in a whinny voice, "Oh can't you help me, can't you transfer me to the appointments department, please"
Female Voice then asks me who my appointment is with, I tell her and she informs me that she can put me through to Debbie the Consultants secretary, which she promptly does....

Long story short I  got through to Debbie and explained my tale of woe to her and asked if she could check and give me the earlier appointment that the phone call on Thursday offered!

She explained that she could not do that but she could transfer me to the "NEW APPOINTMENTS" centre.  I enquired if that was a "New" NHS appointment centre or a Fortis Appointment Centre and she said, "NHS"

So, anyway she tried to transfer me but the phone kept ringing, bless her she stayed on the line and then gave me THE EXTENSION NUMBER saying that it would probably be better if I phoned in the afternoon as they were normally quieter then! (That's probably because all we FECKING ELDERLY FOLKS are having our afternoon naps.

I thnaked Debbie for her help and hung up and do you know what I have not called the number, it was by then 11.14 AM. 


And that is what that 24 minutes felt like.  

Burt one thing I will mention and point out here, did you see that part of the conversation with Debbie from the NHS, here it is again;

She explained that she could not do that but she could transfer me to the "NEW APPOINTMENTS" centre.  I enquired if that was a "New" NHS appointment centre or a Fortis Appointment Centre and she said, "NHS"
So my original question to my MP stands, "Why are the NHS in this part of Essex paying a third party through the GP system, owned and operated by the GP's to organise NHS appointments while we still have a "NEW" appointments centre in the local NHS"?

We could get rid of one of them and give the money saved to bloody INDIA!!!!!!

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