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Thursday, February 16, 2006

NHS Bureaucracy

I recently had my first contact with the NHS in the shape of a consultation with a local GP. All went well, a sample was taken for a test and I was told to call back for the result in about 2 weeks (the consultation was 3 weeks ago). So, I called today, the conversation went as follows (paraphrased and with the less egregious stupdities elided):
  • Receptionist: No, that result's not on our screen.
  • Me: OK, it should have arrived already, what's the followup process?
  • Receptionist: You'll need to talk to your doctor.
  • Me: To be clear, I have to talk to my doctor to followup an administrative problem?
  • Receptionist: I'm not medically trained...
  • Me: Yes, yes, I know, but the problem isn't a medical one; you're sure that I have to talk to my doctor to follow up an administrative problem?
  • Receptionist: Yes, he can access more information than we can.
{{ I'm inclined to believe this. The "call for results" deal is really "call for the comments that your doctor wrote on your file after he reviewed the results when they arrived", which I suppose explains why they can offer such a service in the first place. }}
  • Me: OK, so...
  • Receptionist: You'll have to call back tomorrow before 10:30am to leave a message to have your doctor call you after morning surgery.
  • Me: ??!! Can't I just leave a message now?
  • Receptionist: No, the screen for the lady who takes messages for the doctors doesn't come up after 10:30.
I'm not making this up...