As an attendee at A&E at the Conquest and as an outpatient, I write firstly to thank the A&E and staff generally for their excellent response and care when I had to attend at short notice last year.
But I write now with concern about the changes in the outpatient appointment booking and confirmation system.
This used to function well when one attended, as one booked in with one’s details at the relevant clinic where one was efficiently queued into the system and in most cases seen without undue delay. The change of no longer having clinic desks, means one now books in at the hospital main entrance desk, where they try to track the appointments for much of the hospital remotely.
This removes the link of the clinic secretary’s awareness of the conditions applying to the appointments, as well as the checks they made to overcome any misidentifications to ensure correct treatment. In some departments where outpatient and internal requests for tests are dealt with, the queuing system is malfunctioning without the previous on-site secretary’s oversight of the system.
Whereas these changes have no doubt made savings in operating costs, they have introduced some inefficiencies and even risks from the patients’ viewpoint which the health service was originally set up to serve. From the wider view where is the balance in the way we are now ordering the running of our society?
This discussion now arises from the complaints about non-payment of appropriate taxes by individuals and companies who can in reality afford to pay, and which are presently being investigated by MPs. This has relevance especially as such companies benefit directly from an effective health and other public infrastructure systems for maintaining their own efficiency in their commercial operations and this should be reflected in their responsible compliance with taxation.
Their present view appears that they want the benefits of operating in a modern democracy, but are indicating they don’t want to support it. As they are the leaders in our society they should be setting an example in public responsibility, not showing how to avoid it. What sort of example are they setting for our young people as they consider their coming roles in our society?
Michael J R Wade
Watts Palace Cottage