I suppose its a bit like speaking in a House of Commons debate. Delivering a carefully crafted argument, disagreeing with policy, only to sit down realising that not a word of the unanswerable case you've just made has been listened to. Except that today I was speaking as a 'patient' rather than a politician.
Regular readers will know (correction - the whole bl**** world knows) that I have a condition known as atrial fibrillation. Its fairly common and nothing to get excited about. Just an irregular heartbeat, which needs a bit of shock treatment to put things back into rhythm. Met my consultant on Wed., and plan to get it done next week. Not saying when - or there'll be a bl**** BBC OBU in the hospital car park. All of this is by way of background.
This morning I had a letter instructing me to attend a pre-operation check over at the hospital early Monday morning. I've important meetings on Monday morning. So I telephoned to ask if this was really necessary - since I saw my consultant for half an hour two days ago. I asked why. Answer came there that my blood pressure needed to be checked and my details taken. I replied that I'd just had my blood pressure (which was now rising) had just been checked, all my details recorded and an ECG carried out for good measure.
Now the nurse's voice was extremely pleasant - the degree of depth and authority that I find attractive, but it might as well have been the Speaking Clock. She was answering to a template that did not have a box marked "Patient's Voice". I was not a 'human' but a 'unit' whose words were not to even be registered. Case of "be there at 9.00). It was the same when I was in hospital when this little problem was first discovered 12 weeks ago. For three days my 'Patient's Voice' was dismissed. Didn't realise to begin with, because these template users have become very skilled. Until I managed to speak with my consultant I was just a 'unit', without the capacity to form words of any value. I only discovered the truth, when I heard the same 'template' being used on the non person in the next bed. He had more about him than I did and discharged himself.
Two points of note. Firstly, I will have to cancel my morning meetings. But if I happened to be a low wage earner without my own transport, I'd be losing at least half a day's pay and use up a days wages to pay for transport - sacrifices that would happily be made for a solid reason. But this is totally without purpose. And secondly, this pointless bureaucratic box ticking is probably taking place thousands of times every day, raiding the health service of manpower which could be used for constuctive purpose. And when it involves affairs of the heart, the process generates its own business. I might just raise the issue of the ignored 'Patient's Voice' on the floor of the House of Commons.