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News and Comment March 2021

Index: 2019202020212022

23 March (Part 2) - Your life in their hands

I suppose I ought to follow up on the blog (last Thursday) about the medical neglect imposed on me by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. I had failed, and not for the first time, to get through to the Urology Department at QEH. On one occasion last year I was passed from pillar to post and eventually ended up on an announcement that said “this phone does not accept incoming calls”.

The Trust reacted quite quickly to my concerns which they registered as a complaint while all I wanted was a call from the appropriate department. However via complaints that call did come through at 15:21 the following day, the day after the blog went on line.

The call lasted eight minutes and thirteen seconds - it’s amazing how much data modern technology provides - and a very pleasant lady told me that I had been put on the system for a blood test before going on to tell me where she lived (within Bexley but I will spare you the details) and roughly how old she was. She also told me how the refuse collection service was appalling at her address and that a letter had already been posted to me confirming my telephone appointment with a Consultant next Friday.

That prompted some critical comment about the postal service and that the letter might be delayed before reconfirming that the trip to phlebotomy was all set up. I told the lady that my refuse collection was near perfect and my postman had been brilliant throughout the pandemic. She was envious but had no idea how I had fallen off the hospital appointments system.

Yesterday I took myself to QEH arriving just before 4 p.m. only to find they had no knowledge of my need for a blood test. I wandered off to Urology and was told that all the doctors had gone home so there was not a lot they could do. Would that mean another year of struggling with QEH’s phone system?

Fortunately one of the nurses remembered where a doctor might be hanging out so I was able to get a blood test after a wait of around 20 minutes. I was lucky, by the time I left, the waiting room was a lot nearer to being full.

This morning (Tuesday) the postman delivered the promised letter. It was dated the day before the lady phoned me on Friday so maybe she was right about that but someone forgot to put me on the blood list. Someone forgot to post the letter too, it wasn’t sent out until yesterday. Once again the Royal Mail did a good job.


My daughter noticed my complaining Tweet and told me she had had exactly the same problem with her local hospital (central London) and a procedure was six months overdue. In her case it was not only phone calls ignored but unlike Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust hers had dragged itself into the 21st century by adopting email and were ignoring that too. She said she might resort to Twitter. I hope she does; she has 40 times as many followers as I do.


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