Tags: alliance, NHS, surgery, travel
I do hope you enjoyed my buzzword-generated title for this post.
My local doctor’s surgery is ‘forming an alliance’ with two other surgeries in a town about 25 minutes’ drive way (when there’s no significant traffic build-up). This is, so they tell me, to help them recruit more staff so that in future they can offer new services to their patients which will help them avoid becoming ill in the first place. It will also mean that staff from the town B surgeries (obviously the town with me in it is town A <grin>) will work sometimes in our surgery and staff from our surgery will work in town B.
Well OK – I’m sure the staff won’t be thrilled about that, but I imagine they’ll live with it, and from a patient point of view all that sounds fine and dandy. So… why does it not fill me with seasonal comfort and joy? Well … if you’ve read any of my other posts about the surgery you’ll have an inkling already.
They welcome patient feedback and ideas, so here’s the letter I want to write them, but won’t.
Thank you so much for your letter, sent to all patients registered in the surgery, outlining your new plans and apparently welcoming patient feedback. From past experience I am completely confident that you don’t welcome feedback at all but you know that if you don’t have a ‘consultation’ you won’t be allowed to proceed. However, since you have to ask for feedback, you might as well have some.
Any services offered to help patients stay well, as an additional benefit to what is already offered, will of course be welcomed. What will not be welcomed, and what again past experience suggests will probably be your next move, is being told in a few weeks, months or years’ time that ‘All patients with diabetes from here and town B will now have their monthly checks in town A’ and ‘All rheumatoid arthritis patients in both towns will now have their monthly blood tests in town B’, for example. This is of course something your letter is very careful not to state, noting instead that staff from town B will sometimes work in town A and vice versa.
Maybe you have no intention of forcing the mostly elderly and frequently infirm and, to put it politely, non-wealth patients from each town to go to the expense (often considerable since many don’t drive or can’t afford to run a car) of travelling to the other surgery for routine appointments once a month or even more often. If that’s the case that’s simply spiffing, splendid and super. I just have a feeling … Please tell me I’m wrong!
I still remember Mrs Practice Manager saying to me once how ridiculous it was that people objected to having to go into Norwich for the open clinic if they needed to see someone quickly. Well … yes, of course they do … given the local demographic, the fact it’s about a 40 minute drive (if you have a car and someone to drive you or you’re able to drive), the taxi return cost is about £55 and the demographic above, I’m not bloomin’ surprised!
Peace and good will to you and all men, women, children, penguin, cats and other animals,