Friday, September 24, 2010

No 'voice' for the patient.

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.


Trudy said...

lol welcome to hospital world....beleive it or not, after completing a dialysis session - at which you are weighed and BP'd pre and post, I recently then immediately went to an apptmt with my nephrologist..the standard procedure at this clinic (as most are not yet dialysing) is weight, BP,urine sample....I arrived (next door actually) and was asked to go thru to be weighed and BP'd...I gave the the figures we had liteally just written in my file...OH NO !! this was not good enough- my word...I was quite determied I was not going thru it all again (get my boots off, jacket, chunky necklace ect) The nurse then got quite irate, as i was, so i promptly went next door and got my file...asking would she beleive me now, as my nurse who that day just happened to be the Unit Manger - had written them in.....bloody beaurocracy/jobsworth's whatever...anyway just as well she didnt take my BP as, like your it must have shot up !!

Anonymous said...

Glyn I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason, fairly or unfairly.I'm sure that many people's lives have been saved because of the positive and public way you have dealt with your bowel cancer.Now you have been dealt this latest health problem and as you say it's not as serious as the media would like us to believe, but I think that as you have pointed out, the Patients voice is being ignored, and you're the very person to do something about it. Good Luck!!!!

Glyn Davies said...

Trudy - I do believe it. Everything that happened to me this morning was either done four days ago by my consultant, or was form filling that could have been done at home. I suppose the urine sample was 'new info' but I wonder whether that was actually needed. Whatever the nurses were very pleasant this morning, despite my embarrassment of being ten minutes late.

Anon - I do feel a bit of a mission to increase 'respect' for the patient. This particularly applies to elderly people. As a country, we go to great lengths to protect and understand children. The individuality of individuals should be respected until they die.