Remember those blood tests and that enormous urine sample I had done last week? Well I hadn’t heard anything and I thought I’d really like to know what the heck was going on. After all, these tests were both ‘for immediate processing’. If the lab doesn’t get on with it the tests are invalid. So logic (this is logic outside Wonderland of course) would dictate that the results were available last Friday.
Once the results are produced they have to go back to the department that instigated the tests. This department is in the same hospital as the laboratory. OK, it’s three floors up, but it’s the SAME BUILDING. We are now in the electronic age. In the normal world the lab would process the results, email them to the department that wants them (same organisation, same building, same server I expect). The department would receive them and, when the patient phoned up, they would be able to inform the patient of the results within a couple of days.
Now for the great British Health Service version: I had my monthly methotrexate blood test on Monday at the GP surgery. ‘Wishful thinking I expect,’ I said, ‘but I don’t suppose those test results have come in?’
‘When did you have them done, love?’
‘Last Friday, but they were for immediate processing, so I just wondered …’
‘Oh no dear, it’ll probably take two or three weeks.’
OK, deep breath … think surely she must be wrong, what about the immediate processing thing? Wait a few days. Phone the GP again. Have a similar conversation, but this time with the receptionist.
Then penguin has a brainwave. I know, I’ll phone the hospital department. They must have the results (immediate processing … did I mention that?) …
Well I got through to the charming consultant’s secretary, who was very helpful and looked it up for me. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t seem to have anything at all for you yet…’
‘Well how long would you expect it to take?’
‘Well it can take up to three weeks or so, and then after that the Doctor has to receive the results and then dictate a letter to be typed, and then it has to go to the typing pool and that can take a while …’ But she really was a lovely lady, and on top of that I sneakily didn’t admit to her that I only had the tests done last Friday* even though the appointment with Dermatology was a few weeks ago … so she’s putting a chase on it for me and seeing what she can find out.
Flippers crossed for results soon. But really, the mind boggles – I presume it’s not the same system in Oncology, but I wouldn’t like to bet on it! It would be nice to think that if I don’t hear anything in the next day or two I could assume the results are negative … but I know the NHS better than that!
* Well she didn’t ask …