I recently had to take Noah to the doctors and it got me thinking about the whole process and how service differs greatly across the NHS. In the past year we have had doctor appointments, A&E trips and 999 conversations – all providing slightly different services.
I suppose this difference is due to the nature of the environment, a doctor’s surgery is a lot calmer than A&E. Our doctor’s trip was because Noah was poorly and I had to describe what was wrong to the doctor and take on board the response I got. We had to trial medicine for a week and she wanted to see him back in a week to make sure he was getting better. This is how I feel service should be, caring for the patient afterwards and making sure they are OK. Especially when it comes to children and the elderly! I don’t feel like our GP was negligent, but others clearly do.
Our A&E trip was because my baby girl was very poorly, it was a sickness bug but she was so weak and just at a year old that I was incredibly concerned about her. We waited for over an hour in A&E with a floppy, not very alert baby girl and when we got to see the doctor we were told to just go home and keep giving her water. Personally, I did feel a little like “WHAT? That’s it?” But was that reaction only because I was worried about my baby girl, was it an irrational thought?
Our more recent 999 phone call was on the other hand really appreciated and the gentleman on the other end of the phone was really helpful to hubby – whilst hubby was trying to stop me from panicking. Little Isla was just very badly constipated, to the point where her bottom was extremely sore and the pain seemed excruciating. I thought she had something stuck in her bottom which is why I was panicking. The guy on the line to hubby asked him all the appropriate questions and assessed the situation, via hubby, very efficiently and despite the fact they did not come out to attend to Isla – me and hubby both felt like we had had good service from them. They advised us on what to do and reassured us that if she was alert and her breathing wasn’t affected she would be OK, sure enough a nice hot bath helped the situation and I feel silly for calling 999. They called back after 15 minutes to make sure Isla was OK and that there were no repercussions from the episode, which I felt, was extremely great customer service, and a great level of care.
I am so glad that out of all 3 scenarios the emergency 999 was the better level of care, as that to me is highly important for when people are in emergencies or situations they are not sure what to do about. It does concern me that our A&E scenario was very blasé and it was almost like they thought I was silly for taking Isla into hospital: despite being told to by the NHS direct line.
Based on my experiences I wasn’t surprised to find out the recent results from First 4 Lawyers’ survey regarding what people’s perceptions are of the NHS and the level of care received. Over half the people surveyed would swap to private health care if they could afford it. It highlights to me that people have had similar experiences to my A&E scenario; you can see as well that people do not feel like they are listened to by doctors. I am not sure what the answer is to resolve the issues, but I would like to hope that the NHS will constantly strive to give the best customer service and continually improve their services. Or is it just personal opinion based on each separate situation and not an issue at all?