@andyburnhammp @archangelolill #NHS waiting times

NHS waiting lists
As an older patient, I’m frequently required to arrange blood tests for myself.
Up until they opened a wonderful new medical centre (Tony Blair), I’d walk to the nearby clinic, sit down and wait for a call of “next”. Quick, efficient, in and out, at a time of my choosing.
With the advent of the new medical centre, I was required to phone for an appointment, of their choosing, often a week or so hence and at a time which was often inconvenient, because of traffic etc.

I would wait in a large communal waiting area for the technician to emerge from behind a locked door and whisper my name, as if into an empty warehouse.  She would wait for me to recognise my name and shamble over and then we’d both slowly walk to the designated cubicle. 15 mins of waiting 5 seconds of extraction and I was free.
What a colossal and stupid waste of everyone’s time and resources.

Fortunately, I, later, found there was an alternative involving a bus journey into the town centre, which was almost like the old “inefficient” system, except it used the rip- off- a- number system.
Hit it at the right time and it was a 5 minute wait. Wrong time and it was, at least, 30 minutes of your life gone. (a long time if it’s your lunch break, not so long if your life expectancy is a matter of  “a few more years yet”).

If  Hospital Trusts want to use IT, to show how up to date they are, then the ticket system is the best but could be improved by posting a running chart of recent lead times, for those waiting for attention, on their websites.

This could be automated and save all the fake waiting time statistics being compiled. Instead of providing statistics for politicians to throw at each other, we’d have a system where someone wanting to attend wednesday morning would, perhaps, see that they’d need to arrive just before 9:50 to avoid a long wait.  Attendance would become self-regulating and make more efficient use of resources.
In fact why not do this with GP appointments, with GP’s able to see any seasonal/localised fluctuations, requiring extra hours, or use of a temporary locum assistant?

Business has used such historical records, as long as I remember (Xmas staff etc.!). It’d end the alleged abuse of patients missing appointments and relieve patient frustration.


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