Quarkside

03/03/2011

NHS: Not Here Sir. Receptionists rule the roost.

Filed under: Governance,People,Process — lenand @ 10:52 am
Tags: , , ,

GPs are going to be the gatekeepers of the NHS. Well, that’s what I thought. It seems that bureaucratic, control-freak, receptionists may have even more power than anticipated from this personal anecdote.

My simple request was to move from a surgery 5 miles away to one 400 yards away.  The distance, historically, was not a problem with visits being made once in a Preston Guild.  The right to select my own GP would appear to be in line with the NHS Charter giving patient choice.

In cometh the bureaucracy.  A receptionist gave me a form to fill, but I would have to return with identification before proceeding. (Thinks, would an eID have helped?). This I completed and duly presented some time later.  The dragon at the hatch said I shouldn’t have been given the form, because it had to be completed on the premises and gave me a virtually identical form and told to refill exactly the same details.  What a waste of time, but then it was my time not hers.

However, the application was refused because I had an old driving licence, which proved to her that I had not recently changed address – the sleuth was correct.  I moved more than 25 years ago.  My plaintive request for selecting a surgery I could walk to, and helping to save the planet, was not a good enough reason.  She was obviously proud of her role in the prevention of Patient Poaching.  Only after I claimed a tenuous, but significant, relationship to the senior partner did she relent.  She gave me leave to appeal, by letter, if I could find some good reason. When I asked what sort of reason, she helpfully suggested criticising my current GP, whom I have never met.  It’s not what you know, but who you know.

So I have had to waste more of my time, and the GP’s time, in writing a letter and a blog.  If the receptionist, or the GP refuses to accept me (the NHS web site says that the surgery is accepting new patients) then:

“However, if the GP does refuse to accept you, then they must have reasonable grounds for doing so. These must not have anything to do with race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition. The GP must give you the reasons for their decision in writing.”

The message about us being in the Post Bureaucratic Age has not reached the parts that gatekeepers protect.

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