In our surgery there is a touch screen computer which asks D.O.B and first letter of surname and then registers your arrival with the clinician you have been appointed to. Geoff's worked, mine didn't. No problem I'll just ask at the desk and the ever so helpful young lady will oblige, NOT. I'm not knocking the clinical side of the surgery here, all NHS facilities have fantastic clinical staff but also they are needed to be run to a budget and have bean counters employed to do this side of things. I suspect however that many of the in house management team are the ones who they can't fit in any other role because there skill sets don't suit the need to talk to organisms more advanced than protozoa. In the bean counters attempt to make their small and otherwise meaningless little empires secure they employ a team of back office staff who then have a radical effect on certain section of front office staff who aspire to their positions. I know this sounds sexist but could equally apply to men in this job although I have never come across any so from my perspective it's "usually" a gender specific role. The doctors receptionist is always a woman. She always has a point to prove. She always is underpaid and overworked but most of all she will always walk on water to do whatever the bean counters dept. has said she must do.
I my case, this infuriating little female dictator, decided that I hadn't made an appoint (this was true San had) "If an appointment had been made then it would have been on the system!" Sandra said, "well I made two appointments on the same phone call how is it that one is there and the other isn't, and also the telephonist was asked to repeat back to me the details thus ensuring I knew you had it right." "But, if you'd made an appointment it would have been on the system." Sandra, "you know how you record the calls for training purposes? would you like to listen to that now?" No because you don't have a appointment booked. Frazzled and ill I decide to put in my five bobs worth. "Well if that's the case when can I have an appointment" I am on the verge of collapsing at this point. "And if not I go straight to the hospital." I said "you do realise that my health going forward at this time is very fragile as I have had the nutritional input of an Iceland Lasagna in the last ten days and feel like I may be about to expire in your very face." "Well I can fit you in a week tonight" came back the totally unconcerned bean counters apprentice, I went to sit down before a felony was committed. This didn't stop my missus having a go and five minutes later I had an appointment in the next quarter of an hour and was told my lungs were totally full of fluid and given all the commensurate drugs to start things going the right way.
In the meantime Geoff goes in to see the nurse with his "pukka" appointment and she says to him "right Geoff why are you here" "for my blood tests" says Geoff quick as a flash (not much gets past him!). "What blood test" says the Nurse, "I have to prepare the correct foils for various different tests", "can't you just take a couple of syringes full and sort it later" the ebullient Geoff replies. Anyway after a little banter it gets sorted out but should have all been on the notes attached to the appointment, more incompetence.
My GP, Simon Marshall, is second to none a great doctor who has a sense of humour thanks for putting up with my through my ongoing dying period. I've not mentioned any names of the front office staff deliberately, BUT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!
Other issues of note this week, there are a couple, firstly we got a call from our letting agents on Tuesday to say that our tenants insurance company were now not paying out on the carpets and could we do anything to help. For a Yorkshire man my pockets are now stretched beyond redemption but we went out to a local carpet dealer we have used many times before and always give us a good deal. They did as well this time with enough room sized remnants to do Lobby and stairs bottom, lounge, dining room and very complicated hallway, plus as a bonus there was enough of an off cut to re-carpet our caravan and the fitter did it for us. Two days from phone call to fitted can't be bad service can it. Well done Morgan and Quinn they come with a no fuss recommendation from me.
On Monday, Geoff got a letter from a company working as a cooperative to buy central heating oil at bulk purchase prices. Anyway, the call was put in and oil ordered, the next day they called back to ratify some details such as how much oil, the address etc. not that this had not been done the day before. Wednesday we got a letter from them with a prepaid reply envelope and a form to fill in. At this point I decided to send the following letter to them:-
Thanks for your message sent out yesterday, the same day we had spoken on the phone to order some oil using this bulk oil buying system. In your letter you repeat back to me the entire contents of the conversation I had yesterday with your telephone operative, who obviously made very adequate notes. I then assume that this information has been forwarded onward to some person in the office to type out onto a computer and thus print off ready for your eminent signature and then onward back to us in the merest moments of time.
However the gist of the letter is to repeat back to you what I have already told you and then you have repeated back to me with two lots of letter preparations and postage in the meantime. Surely an efficient company would have taken the order when the telephone rang and from there filled in the computerised form for the customer (I do notice that the paper form enclosed has a line saying that this paper becomes a contract effectively between buyer and seller.) and perhaps the details of the card to be charged to when the delivery is made.
Surely for a dot org company listing pushing it’s environmentally aware message as well as having a web site sporting many, many links to all the green, clean and lean sponsors you are trying to amass, you really should be looking a little more slick in the front office dept. and who knows with the potential savings made you may be able to do an even better deal with for your customers or better still offset the proposed charging system to some degree.
Just so there is no further confusion to us simple folk, we have returned the fully filled in paper form for five hundred litres of heating oil (which will now needs transferring to computer) and duly signed. I thus expect a call from you early next week as discussed on the telephone.
Geoffrey Scarr aged 89 & 3/4
Within moments of this email hitting the ether, the phone was ringing, I answered with a jovial "intensive care, how can I help" and the companies MD was there wondering what he had done to upset someone so much. After explaining to that it was tongue in cheek and that perhaps a little latitude should be sought for people of a humorous disposition I think the penny finally dropped.
I think I may be going batty as well as dying at the moment so I close it at that.