LETTER: '˜Diabolical bureaucracy'
I wonder if any of your readers have had an experience like mine?
A few months ago I had a big operation. It went very well and I am enormously grateful for the excellent care I received. But before I left the hospital they gave me four weeks worth of injections. These were intended to prevent blood clots, and they came with a bright yellow sharps box and instructions.
“Oh,” I said, “What do I do with this pretty box when it’s full?”
“Take it to your GP’s surgery,” they replied smiling sweetly. Little did I know the trap that had just opened.
I was a good girl and stuck the needle in twice a day for four weeks, which was not as much fun as it sounds.
After three weeks I saw my GP and told him about the box. “Yes,” he said, “Bring it in when it’s full.” Little did he know...Eventually the box was full so as per instructions I sealed it and took it to the surgery. “Oh no,” they said, “We don’t take those. You’ll have to take it to the council.”
So I phoned the council and asked where I should take my box. “Oh no,” they said, “we don’t take those.”
Grinding my teeth, I asked what I should do with this wretched box. Reluctantly they admitted that it was an ‘outsourced’ service and they would call me back. When they did so, they gave me the contact details for a company called Medisort.
So I called Medisort. “Yes,” they said, “We do take full sharps boxes.” Result!
Not quite. If I wanted a free collection I had to complete a form which arrived two whole weeks after this conversation. I looked at it eagerly, but was not at all pleased to see that it had to be countersigned by someone at (you’ve guessed it) my GP practice. The circle of incompetence was complete, a true work of art.
I took it to my GP’s surgery with a stamped addressed envelope and it came back to me the very next day.
By now, it was over two months after my operation.
I was quite busy but I sent the form to Medisort and waited for them to let me know when they would collect the box.
About ten days later they phoned and told me when they would come and collect it, giving me a date with no options, and saying that they would collect it after 6am on that date. I politely explained that I had to go out that morning but I would be there until 8am. Simple enough, you would think.
Morning came, I got up, got dressed, and left the house at 8.30am with no sign of Medisort. After a few days I phoned them and they told me that their driver had rung my bell at 9am. I gave them the benefit of my opinion.
I did wonder how much all this has cost, not least with regard to my time and the stress that this ridiculous non-system has caused me for the past three-and-a-half months.
And then I realised that this is what’s wrong with the NHS.
Not the care, which is very good on the whole, but all the diabolical bureaucracy.
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