About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Monday, 17 February 2014

More on customer service

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about some disastrous customer service I had received over a couple of days, and am pleased to say that some things have been resolved and some are still on going. 

The Long Tall Sally issue was resolved remarkably quickly. A lovely CS rep agreed that it wasn't good enough to leave me waiting 4 weeks before informing me something was out of stock so I got a more expensive item for the same price and had a refund of my delivery charges which I was very happy about. 

Southern Railway unfortunately have still not responded. I have chased them up today to limited success. But I shall keep blogging about them until they rectify the situation that left me embarrassed and out of pocket.

In the meantime the news last week that the NHS has drafted in Sir Stuart Rose to help with customer service is music to my ears. I have long wanted to write about the woeful customer service that I have experienced in the NHS and now at last I feel I can. 

Imagine this scenario.

You have decided to take advantage of one of THOSE sales, you know the ones I mean, that start at 8am Boxing Day and definitely end some time on a Monday. You've driven to the retail park, found a parking space, (persuaded the husband that you really need a new sofa/bed/dining room table), entered the store and found an assistant. You've chosen the furniture you want and it comes to sign the deal.

But instead of signing the deal there and then, the sales person disappears and comes back a few moments later and says that you can't sign the deal until Wednesday. 

Do you accept that? No, why would you. You are there to make a purchase and want to make a purchase there and then. 

Why, then do we accept this from the NHS?

My previous admission to hospital and subsequent transfer to Royal Surrey was, I was told, an emergency. Why then having been transferred on Friday did I have to wait until Wednesday to get any kind of treatment or test? Then having had the treatment and tests was I told that there was nothing they could do this time and left sobbing on my bed with no one (nursing staff etc) knowing that the Dr had even been in to see me. 

Imagine another scenario. 

You have £50,000 to invest (yeah, wishful thinking, I know). You call the bank/financial advisor to make an appointment to see them and discuss this. Rather than offering you a specific appointment they tell you that the only way that you can see someone is if you arrive at 9am on Tuesday morning and wait until they are free. This means that you might be seen at 9.15am or you might wait in the waiting room until 4,15pm. Do you accept this? Of course not, you call another company that offers appointments. 

But as an inpatient in hospital this is precisely the scenario you face day after day. You see someone who says you are going to have an endoscopy, or a CT scan or some other procedure. But no one can tell you what time it will be. Frequently I have found myself being taken for procedures during visiting hours. This leaves me wondering whether my visitors will turn up and then leave or what they will be told. Some procedures mean that you don't get taken straight back to the ward so you might miss your only bit of normal life due to the inability of the NHS to schedule, 

Now, I know there are emergencies and these take precedent. But what about the patients. These people are in hospital and are at their most vulnerable and there is no thought given to treating them like human beings. Because you are an inpatient you feel like you are not an equal member of society. 

I was transferred to Royal Surrey as an emergency, yet it wasn't to much of an emergency as I wasn't given any kind of treatments or tests until Wednesday. 5 days of waiting. 

This wouldn't be acceptable anywhere else, why is it acceptable in the NHS?

Why can the NHS not give people times for appointments as inpatients to ensure they don't miss out on seeing their loved ones, who may have travelled a considerable distance to see them. 

I could go on and on. I could tell you about the fiasco of dealing with multiple NHS trusts with different rules and procedures who can't communicate with each other. The contradictons and excuses given. 

What it comes down to though is that because the NHS doesn't have shareholders and profits, it isn't accountable in quite the same way as a business and so the 'customer' will never be the focus of the organisation in quite the same way. This is the real problem with customer service in this country.