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LETTER: It’s culture change, not cash that the NHS needs

Fruitless telephoning can be very stressful

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The NHS has enough cash but not enough common sense. The whole culture needs to change from a jobsworth mentality to one that puts the patient first. There are far too many jobsworth staff, pen pushers, box tickers and highly paid administrators that do nothing for the patients, except prevent the NHS from functioning.

One phone call from a patient should be enough to have a problem resolved. Instead of fobbing the patient off, the NHS staff should be obliged to resolve a problem and contact other people as needed, not leave the patient to do all the work.

Fruitless telephoning can be very stressful and is certainly not helpful if a patient is ill.

An example of a patient trying to get medication that did not arrive:

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I was without medication: methotrexate, that I needed to take that day.

I had contacted the hospital the previous week about my needing a repeat prescription. The previous dose had been posted to me and I had assumed that the repeat medicine would also have been posted to me. It was not.

I contacted askmyGP asking if they could prescribe it, as this was an emergency, but they would not because it is the hospital’s rheumatology department’s responsibility..

I phoned the hospital’s pharmacy to see if a repeat prescription had been left there. They said they don’t deal with it; it was another pharmacy that does.

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I phoned that second pharmacy who did not answer. The phone was out of order because of a bill problems and I was told they have no email or any other form of communication.

I phoned the doctor’s surgery and although I said that my GP had told me in a previous conversation that he WAS willing to prescribe the Methotrexate for me if he needed to, the receptionist said that although he was there, he was not available, and I could not leave a message for him.

I phoned the hospital’s pharmacy again who suggested I put this as a complaint to MyChart and ask the hospital to send a letter to my GP giving him permission to prescribe the methotrexate. A secretary from MyChart replied saying they could not help because she was not a nurse practitioner.

I phoned 111 who don’t have prescribers until 6.10 p.m., but they would have been unable to prescribe because it is the hospital’s responsibility. They advised me to phone pharmacy’s head office. They could not get through either, so they passed me to the Patients Experience Team who only had an answerphone.

Even though I was unable to find out if the prescription was actually there, I decided to get a taxi costing in the region of £100 to get to the pharmacy before they closed.

After fruitless phoning for five hours and a £100 taxi fare, I was able to collect the medication!

None of this would have happened if common sense and an attitude of helpfulness had prevailed.

 

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