NHS and communication don’t go together

NHS Scotland
Staffed by angels, managed by idiots

Been a while since I had a real whinge on here about anything. So here we go. Today’s target is the NHS. Not the lovely people who work the front line – the nurses, doctors, pharmacists, receptionists and so on. You’re lovely.

But the muppet who put the system in place for shifting your medical records from one place to another when you register at a new surgery? They need a kick in the nethers. A hard one.

Two weeks ago I registered at a surgery near my aunt’s where I’ve been living for some time. A few forms to fill in and no worries. The doctor saw me right away and all was well with the world.

Today I popped back in to see about getting boosters and inoculations for my upcoming trip back to Vietnam. Again, I was welcomed in my lovely staff… who found that they didn’t have any details on my record as yet. Little things like what injections I got in 2001 and 2006.

No problem. I called my old doctor’s surgery in Bradford who looked me up… and told me that my file was “in transit” to the new place. According to the nurse who jabbed a needle in my arm, this could take a couple of weeks. A month, maybe. Perhaps 6 weeks. During which time nobody has access to my medical history.

Apparently the file goes from the old surgery to the NHS central office down south. They then send it to NHS Scotland in Glasgow who finally farm it out to the surgery I’ve just joined. All by post or something. Maybe marching goblin. Or cycling arachnids. Either way, a month to move a file from one place to another seems absolutely absurd.

Given the fact that the records are held electronically, it amazes me that they couldn’t be transferred instantaneously from old doctor to new.

I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any dodgy medical past or important medications that need to be kept track of. I can only imaging the inconvenience for some poor sod who’s got a prescription that needs renewed and who didn’t bother making a note of the medication. Instead of a simple repeat prescription, you’re back to a new diagnosis, doctor’s time being wasted and so forth.

And all because electronic files are transferred by road, rail or a leprechaun on a pogo-stick.

Seriously. Who the hell thinks this is remotely acceptable in this day and age?

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4 thoughts on “NHS and communication don’t go together”

  1. That’s as good as my winge with them this week… I had an appointment with a consultant in Stockton on Tues morning. The department rang at 4.30pm on the Monday and asked if I had the disc with the MRI results on it with me, because they didn’t have it. Erm, no. I didn’t, surprisingly enough! So, they had to ring the Harrogate hospital where I had it done, while I rang the Docs here checking it wasn’t here. Then they rang back and said if I rushed to Harrogate (25 min journey) I could get a copy and come to the appointment, Or I could wait another month for another!!!
    Luckily I can drive and was able to do this. Another months wait would be another month off work, another month on what is now half pay and another month of worry and frustration… They had 7 Weeks to sort this out, and yet left it to the last not even 24hours to do so. I was not best pleased x

  2. Crap. That sounds more like admin staff making a mess than upper echelons / policy. I would suggest a very strongly-worded letter of complaint in relation to that one.

  3. Remember that too expensive/intrusive NHS patient information system? How you medical records could be instantly available anywhere? What’s the betting that it is one of the casualties of the spending cuts having already been cut-back. Mind you, these things can’t be rushed — they only started work on it in 2002.

  4. Even taking that thing into account – where is the sense in sending the *only physical copy* of your medical record through three offices before it reaches your new surgery? Even if it doesn’t get lost, this journey can take 4-6 weeks in a lot of cases, during which time your records are often not available to *anyone* should you fall ill.

    In fairness, my new surgery says they would kee a copy accessible for some time after passing the information into the system for a transfer. But my old surgery wiped me off their system as soon as they sealed the envelope to send my data off elsewhere. As a result, I have no accessible medical history in the interim.

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