Today I headed to my local hospital, in order to apply for funding for university I need a form of evidence for my disability. So I needed a quick checkup and a written statement.
I arrived at the hospital on time, predictably they were running late. The eye clinic only has a waiting room once you are called in. So my wife and Grayson lined up down the corridor and waited for my name to be called. After a while my name was called and I was ushered into a room to take an eye test.
Me: Probably not much point in me doing this, im blind, I wont be able to read the letters
Nurse: You have to do it.
Nurse: Did you drive here today?
Me: No I am blind, how could I drive a car?
Nurse: Ok, what letters can you see?
Me: I can’t I am blind.
This farce went on for a short while with numerous nurses, until they decided I was blind and there was no point in taking the tests. I was escorted out of the room and left in the middle of a corridor. After a short while I heard the jingling of my wife’s keys and we sat back down to wait. So far the experience had been what I have come to expect of the NHS, simply bad. With metrics focussed on patients per hour and not quality of care, and strict adherence to systems there is simply no hope for the nurses.
After another wait now over 90 minutes late I was called in to see the Dr. This is where the service transitions to good. The Dr seems to be able to break from these metrics and systems and treat the patient as an actual person. He asked a few questions about family history and began his examination, he appeared to be asking some odd questions, but I thought nothing of it and continued to answer.
It turned out there was no record of me having Retinitis Pigmentosa in my notes and he was working up to breaking the news to me. We had a short laugh and I explained I knew my diagnosis and simply needed proof to hand to the university and a few other paperwork based queries. He seemed like a fantastic Dr and noted I had a cataract in one eye which may need surgery in the future, but nothing to really worry about.
Overall my experience was balanced out by the excellent personal skills of the Dr but let down by the nurses. I don’t blame the individuals themselves just the systems lack of focus on the correct metrics. Hopefully the next time I visit it will be an improved experience.