I was frustrated yesterday as I had two medical appointments in our nearest city hospital with Joshua, one in the morning with the surgeon who carried out his botox injections and back in the afternoon, to see the occupational therapist. I was complaining about the lack of a’ joined-up NHS’ and how no thought is applied to appointment making, as we have a neurology appointment at same hospital today : how it would not take too much effort to coordinate appointments, the technology exists to make smarter, informed decisions, and make life simpler for us. Each appointment is time off school, and work, and another 40 minute journey each way and the inevitable struggle to find a vacant car park space. It feels as though the careless appointment making is just an indication that the Doctor’s time is perceived as being more valuable than ours.
However, I then had to eat my words, as the OT attended our morning appointment with the consultant, so that our separate later appointment with her, was cancelled. At last, some common sense was applied and the appointments were more efficient.So I had to reinstate his taxi home, tell school the revised plan and to change my afternoon work plans. I still have to head back there for an 11.30 appointment today but at least it was two trips to hospital in 24 hours rather than the expected three.
We hear how much money NHS loses from missed appointments and that is wasteful, but when you get three apointment letters all from the same place, all on the same day, I have some sympathy. There is already a lot of juggling going on in the lives of parents of a special needs child, so medical appointments have to fit into that chaos and be helpful somehow, rather than adding to the stress that exists already. So I am asking for better communication between NHS and its patients and more intelligent, joined-up appointment making. From my perspective, I would rather have one longer day in hospital seeing all of the doctors and therapists that Joshua needs to see, rather than having odd days with appointments, which is a lot more disruptive. There is much talk about the NHS being ‘patient-centred’ but that, sadly, has not been my experience in the last 15 years that I have been attending appointments.