The ayes have it

Another two post week – what’s going on?!

Or, rather, the eye has it.

This blog is starting to sound a bit like a hypochondriac’s ramble, but bear with me.

Just before Christmas, while driving to work, I noticed a slight fuzziness in my left eye and a more than usual number of “floaters”. I actually mentioned it to my haematology consultant a couple of days later who advised me to get to see an eye specialist as soon as possible. He even mentioned it in his brief report that he sent to my GP, following our consultation.

I had already made an appointment with my optician who gave me the full eye test. And the news. And a referral through my GP to an ophthalmologist.

It seems that the vitreous humor sack in my left eye has become detached from the retina, a condition known as “Posterior vitreous detachment“. It’s supposed to remain stuck firmly to the retina, but as people get older, it often detaches. Much like the lymphoma, it’s more common a problem in the over 65s, apparently, but not rare amongst youngsters like me. The optician asked whether I had been doing any strenuous work or DIY recently. The day before, I had been trying to drill some holes into a concrete lintel with no success and I was seriously pushing that power-drill against that concrete. I suspect that might have been the cause, as strenuous work can cause this to happen.

There isn’t much that can be done about the condition, apparently, and eventually my brain will get used to it. As it stands though, the vision in my left eye is as if I have a dirty contact lens in, that sometimes moves out of the line of sight. The slight blurriness is my retina “seeing” the back of the vitreous sack.

The purpose of this blog post isn’t to moan about this, but about the way that the NHS now arrange bookings for consultations with specialists.

I was given access to a system called “Click and Book”, whereby one can access the booking system of the hospital directly on the web and choose a convenient clinic. Great. There were lots of choices (although not until mid-February) so I opted for an appointment on Friday 14th. When attending ophthalmology clinics, you are not allowed to drive, as drops that they often put into the eye cause blurred vision for hours afterwards, so my wife agreed to request the day off so that she could give me lifts. I received a letter from the clinic confirming the appointment.

This week, I received a second letter. The clinic had been moved to the Wednesday, not the Friday. No phone call asking if this was convenient. No email. No nothing.

I phoned to complain, or at least ask for an explanation. On eventually getting through to the “Click and Choose” appointment person, she was completely unapologetic and just said that was how things were done and the clinic had been moved. When I explained that it was obvious that it seems that the hospital is only run for the convenience of its management and that the patients are just taken for granted, she immediately sent me off to the Patient Liaison people.

I will write to the Chief Executive tomorrow. As it happens, I can make the alternative date, but that’s not the point. There is no thought given by the management to the needs of the patients, only to themselves.

I have praised the NHS on this blog over the years and I have written to the Chief Exec of the same hospital praising the treatment and attitude of the staff. It’s a shame I feel compelled to write a different kind of letter this time.

One thought on “The ayes have it”

  1. This happened to me three times with an appointment for Millie. They sent me a letter moving the date twice without warning or consultation. Sod’s law that I then couldn’t attend the final date they offered. Obviously this is the one date they stuck to! The letter I then received telling me I’d failed to attend my appointment made my blood boil. I’m a passionate supporter of the NHS but as a working mother I have fallen foul of their arbitrary bookings and set clinic days so many times as to make me scream with frustration!

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