Digging amongst the rubbishy murk of PFI funding, bad contracts and other NHS-management that is the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, there is pure gold.  Such as the young visiting Swiss Opthalmologist who is prepared to try a new idea on my almost-blind Tamoxifen eye, or the consultant who has polio at his finger-tips, and looks after me superbly.

Though at times I despair.  Had to go for an MRI Scan.  I’d had my wallet stolen containing my Aortic-valve card.  I’d had this installed 12 years ago at The Royal Brompton and it’s still ticking strongly.  I arrive at the JR, only to be told hospital can’t phone through to any of the 3 hospitals where I’d recently had scans – nor could they contact my surgeon – to ask for details of the valve (apparently they must have these before they shove me in the machine). I’d assumed they would have copies of these details in one of the hospitals where I’d previously had a scan.  NO, NO, NO!  Apparently there isn’t a working telephone in the whole of the massive JR complex that can connect to any of these NHS hospitals!  Well, that’s what they tell me.  They think I am stupid enough to swallow this.  I am left with a painful spine, all because no-one can lift up a phone.  Do they use pigeons here or what?

The NHS still can’t come up with a simple, modern solution to communicating when you need urgent information.  So, realising that no-one is capable of using a phone (Alexander Graham Bell managed in the 1880s) I contact the superb team at The Royal Brompton.  As usual, I manage to get through immediately and they sort me out without any fuss (note to other hospitals – go see how they do it).  In the meantime I had a back up plan and phoned another hospital;  they said they couldn’t deal directly with patients, but to get the JR to write to them frequesting the info.  i told them in no uncertain terms not to be so stupid.  Why should one section of the NHS have to justify itself to another in such an old-fashioned way?  And who’se data is it anyway? Get real !

But as usual, it boils down to arrogance.  The JR doesn’t see why it needs to help patients.  After all,why should they?  It’s obvious we’re very low down in the pecking order.

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