Sunday, 29 August 2010

The NHS is a pain in the..................

My Mum has been undergoing dental work for some time now and had her final tooth out last Wednesday in preperation for sparkly gnashers to go in. When I saw her yesterday, she had pain and swelling from the extraction so we resolved to find her a dentist.
As it is bank holiday her dentist (and all others it seems) will not open till Tuesday, so I contacted the Dental Hospital in Manchester. The Answerphone told me to contact the Manchester Royal Infirmary giving the appropriate telephone number which I phoned. A few rings later I was greeted by a sullen receptionist who, once I had explained the situation, said nothing further but my phone started to ring somewhere else - yep, back to the dental hospital that had referred me in the first place to the sullen receptionist.
I rang the MRI back, got a different, slightly less sullen receptionist, who, once I had pointed out the circular direction my enquiry was going in transferred me to Accident and Emergency.
A much more helpful gentleman in A & E informed me I could bring Mum to them but they would only issue painkillers. He gave me a further number to ring to try to find the emergency dentist that lurks around Manchester.
I rang the number, answered lots of questions, the postcode seemed quite important even though I would have to take Mum to where the dentist was, but by this time I would have even offered to have my Iris scanned to stop Mums dramatic moans of agony.
Once our lives had been logged on some database or other, I was informed that there was an appointment left with the emergency dentist but we had to be assessed by a dental nurse from NHS direct to decide if we were worthy to be seen and we would receive a call in the next hour.
About 20 minutes later the phone rang. A message had been left by NHS direct to say they would call back in 15 minutes. I'm not sure why it went to answerphone as I tried the phone on my mobile which rang no problem, I can therefore only assume the NHS Direct rang me as I was on the phone to the emergency dentist line .
15 minutes came and went, no call. After 45 minutes I rang back to be told that NHS Direct had closed down the call. They would put another one through and someone would call me in the next hour............but there were no longer any appointments left with the dentist!
Now the reason Mum relies on me to take her to the dentist, is because 3 years ago, my fully mobile mum had been admitted to hospital for something like Norovirus, but whilst in hospital,
broke her hip, after trying to get out of bed because she had been waiting for a bed pan for so long that she was afraid she would wet the bed.
After protestations from my sister that Mum was complaining of pain in her hip, they reluctantly carried out an x-ray (so they say) and confirmed that there was just some bruising. They continued to treat Mum as a moaner for the next 6 days - just a bit of bruising, keeps going on about it and so on. Day 6 my sister managed to persuade them to x-ray the hip again. Oops, the hip had been broken but missed when they checked the first x-ray (if one was ever done) but no apology for leaving Mum in agony for the last 6 days.
So, that's the end of my semi - rant at the incompetancy of the NHS but I also want people to know how my Mums been treated because at the end of each of their incompetant processes, their sullen attidtude and their crap computer systems, there is someone in pain.

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