Invited by text to book a free shingles injection, I tried to ring the surgery for an appointment. After several layers of the usual “For an appointment press 1...” game, I entered the last option and the line went dead, Tried again checking that all options were valid, entered the last option and the line went dead again. Tried one last time but still the line went dead. Okay, system doesn’t work so I’ll try again some other time.
Mrs H has been unwell, is no better after a few days and clearly needs an appointment with a doctor but it is Sunday. No problem, the internet says there is a local NHS weekend service operated by a group of local surgeries. Just ring this number and -
- and the line goes dead. Try again – nope the line goes dead. Try again – nope the line goes dead.Try the surgeries which make up the weekend group –
Surgery 1 – closed. Surgery 2 – closed. Surgery 3 – closed. Surgery 4 – closed. Give up and wait until Monday.
Monday arrives and Mrs H tries to phone the surgery. Lines too busy to join the call queue. Call again – still too busy. After more than 30 calls Mrs H gets onto the queue and eventually gets her appointment and prescription, which is for an antibiotic which has been around for decades. We knew this would probably be the outcome. So would any pharmacist.
It’s the NHS. Can be okay, can be good, can be crap. It isn’t always money as apologists and political charlatans claim. Too often it is people, motives and incentives. As for the politics, the Labour party needs a mediocre NHS as an emotive stick with which to bash the Tories. So we have a mediocre NHS.