Saturday, 14 April 2012

The 'Caring' Profession...

Receptionists at a GPs’ surgery refused to call one of eight doctors working there after an 84-year-old woman collapsed in agony in the waiting room, it was claimed today.
Shocking. Not surprising, though...
Prabhavati Kachra was close to passing out with chest pains and thought she was dying but her grandson said staff would not let him call 999 from their desk phone — citing concerns over patient confidentiality.
But one of them offered to send GPs an email, said Viral Padharia, a 33-year-old council worker.
Oh, good grief!
Mr Padharia said it had echoes of the Little Britain “computer says no” sketch. He said: “They were more keen on trying on their new earrings.
Well, it seems no-one really wants to do their jobs any more. They'd rather you did all the heavy lifting instead. They'll just take the pay, thanks very much...
Mr Padharia, a father-of-one, said: “They said I would have to call 999 myself because I have all the details. But I told them my phone was in the car.”
He claims reception staff refused to let him call the ambulance from their desk phone and he was forced to get his mobile and ring 999.
Even the paramedics were a little bit surprised at this:
It was only after paramedics arrived that Mr Padharia said a GP appeared to understand what the commotion was about.
According to Mr Padharia, one paramedic told the GP as he examined Mrs Kachra on the reception room floor: “You should have been out here 10 minutes ago.”
And what does the NHS, that Wonder Of The World, have to say about this? Well, predictably, it's 'No report via official channels? Didn't happen...':
NHS North Central London said it had not received the family’s complaint, but was “concerned to hear” of their claims and urged them to call the PCT’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service.
Comments throw up two interesting wrinkles, though. First there's the 'I blame the Tories!' line:
Anonymous21 hours ago
Funny how the family found it easier to bring in the press than the local health authority, which confirms that the chaos and second class NHS service which was clearly signposted right up to the moment Lansley managed to get the NHS signed over to his rich backers.

This is just the beginning because the act does not officially start taking effect until mid-June.
And then there's the 'We should do something!' line:
Anonymous21 hours ago
These staff should be sacked.

It's yet another example of why it should become a criminal offense to fail to seek medical assistance for a person in need of it. I once thought it was needed only to jail hit-and-run drivers, but it's becoming apparent that the need is much wider.
Errr, no. It really isn't...


Anonymous said...

The desperate fear of being accused of an error...

The staff, from the safety of their sealed environment (and yes, most GPs now separate the rabble from the receptionists with counters and glass) were scared to do anything in case they were complicit or guilty or somehow to blame for the problem. So much easier, in today's litigious times, to retreat and pretend you are better off not being involved.

But then we see the fuzz arresting people on the flimsiest of evidence and the courts appear eager to throw the book at anyone but the criminals, so perhaps they were right to stand back.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes...that old standby, `patient confidentiality` I do hope that, had she collapsed and died, Mrs. Kachra would have been discrete and his behind a screen...or pretend she was sleeping, perhaps.

When I was a kid, it was a standing joke that you had to get past the receptionist, who preferred her clean and tidy waiting room uncluttered by sick people....good to know some traditions are kept alive...

Macheath said...

I read your post out to my mother, who expressed no surprise whatsoever.

Last week, in severe pain from a ruptured disc, she arrived at her doctor's surgery to be told she couldn't have an emergency appointment without telephoning first.

"You mean if I call you now - from in front of your desk - on my mobile, you'll give me an appointment?"

"No, of course not. You have to call before coming into the surgery."

There was, it seemed, no other way: my mother had to go back out and stand in the car park to phone the receptionist, who allocated her an emergency appointment as if their previous conversation had never taken place.

Trundlemaster said...

The NHS is prime example of 'producer capture' of an organisation.

It could be great but the ingrained culture of the NHS prevents it from being so.

Personally I'd prefer to see everyone allocated a personal health budget and it would be up to the citizen how and where they spent their budget.

The NHS does somethings wonderfully but a lot of things not too well at all.

Stonyground said...

It seems to me that as the modern world becomes ever more complicated, it becomes more and more difficult for stupid people to cope.

JuliaM said...

@Macheath: God, it's like something written by Kafka!

Johnm said...

I am under-impressed.
The same seat-warmers attitude can be found in practically every "service" industry office.
The nhs does not have a monopoly on poor receptionists, rather an extension of the poor attitude that is apparent through the entire country.
As for "patients being given their own funding" and taking it with them....well, gp commissioning gives each patient an "allocation" (credited a load of dosh)....if one uses less then the remainder is usable by others...that won't last long before the unused-by-the-healthy is taken back, leaving the old, chronically sick, and old-and-chronically-sick with lower funding, and hence lower health care.
Welcome to the "green" world......the population gets lowered by contraception at the start, and hastening the end at....the end.
Since population control by birth-rate control leaves an ageing population it seems obvious to me that the next extension will not be long in coming.

Anonymous said...

My wife saw a elderly lady fall and smack her head on the road 50 yards from the local doctors surgery, she called 999, 30 mins for the ambulance to arrive, the surgery refused to send anyone out nurse or doctor, so this is not an isolated incident. The same surgery now requires ALL patients to phone for an apptointment the doctor, then phones you to discuss your illness, if he thinks you need to see him/her they make an appointment for the following day. when you call to make the initial appointment the receptionist ask you whats wrong, they get really shitty if you refuse to say, "the doctor must know before he speaks to you" you have no privacy. We live in a small town where everyone knows everyone so this make it even more embarrasing.

Don't get ill in a small Dorset town that starts with Swan and ends in age!

Trundle said...

To comment on anoynmous's comment about doctors, I'd like to say that the NHS is pretty shit in most places but since moving from Ratopolis (London) to a much more rural city not a million miles away from Dorset I must admit the treatment I get from public servants is vastly better.

I went to sign on at a doctor but was extremely displeased by the attitude of the receptionist. I phoned up my health auth and was offered alternative surgeries to go to and advised how to make a formal complaint against the original surgery.

I would never have recieved such positive treatment in London. My aged parents who still live in said shithole have had it itimated to them that if they try to change from their shit doctor then a note about 'racism' would be put on their health records. Now my folks are some of the least racist people I know and for them to be treated like this by a healthworker in a Labour authority makes me mad. I saw the writing on the wall re London and got out and have advised my family to do the same.

This is not to say that arse covering and producer capture is not a problem in the NHS as it clearly is an issue.

Anonymous said...

Ah the tyranny of the GP receptionist. Where there are several only one will be helpful the others tiresome old hags (normally always female and middle aged) who are as difficult as possible with every query they encounter and inevitably create more work for the millionaire Dr Gupta and his 'partners' when he could be doing more important private work like being a police FME.

Trundle said...

Ranter what you say concurs with much of my experience with GP receptionists. It seems they are more interested in ticking admin boxes rather than helping patients get the care they need.

Since my move from a North London shitheap well known for it's incompetent social workers it has been almost a pleasure to deal with the health services round where I live now. Also those of us who don't tick any diversity boxes know that in this area I will be mostly treated equally to others. Where I used to live you got the impression that the quality of service you got depended on which politically important demographic you belonged to.