I can’t be the only relative who has had to deal with social services and doctors at a distance, but just getting anyone to return a phone call was a gargantuan task.
Hmmm, doesn’t seem like something that can be blamed on ‘Toree cutz’, does it?
And, refreshingly for once, there’s no attempt to do so.
This was a recurring problem but it became more acute when I found out from my aunt that my mother was in hospital in January 2014. I immediately called the hospital to find out what was wrong, and was asked to come to an urgent meeting that afternoon. I explained that was physically impossible – it is a drive of seven hours – and I was assured that a consultant would call me back. When I was given a code word that I would need to repeat to the doctor to establish my identity, I realised that something was seriously wrong. I waited hours for a phone call. Nothing happened.
In a state of some agitation, I called the hospital again and managed to track down the consultant.Even now, it is painful to remember the shock I felt when he told me that my mother had late-stage lung cancer. I tried to gather my wits, asking about palliative care, and he promised that someone would call me before any decisions about moving her were taken.
I never heard from him or the hospital again.
I never have any problems getting calls from my car mechanic, hairdresser, veterinarian. They view me as a customer. They want my custom.
The NHS doesn’t view patients as customers. So they have little to no incentive to return calls.
Until my mother’s health failed, I had a naive belief that we lived in a society where relatives could work collaboratively with professionals to get decent care for the elderly.
Two years ago, my faith in that system was shaken to the core. Now Dame Julie’s report suggests that not much has changed.
And what’s your proposal for changing this, Joan? I’d be interested to know.