Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Hospital Trip

I must give credit indeed to the Ulster Hospital; particularly their Casualty Unit and Observation Ward, for a competent, efficient and assiduous process from Tuesday through to Wednesday. This competence and impressiveness was not reflected at the GP surgery end, if you know what I mean - district nurse excepted.

The first ambulance - non-emergency - failed to arrive on Monday afternoon, because the GP at the surgery forgot to inform them. I phoned the next morning to let them know. The second ambulance arrived when I was out at an appointment - and I had expressly told the doctor that I'd be out between 10.30 and 12.30. The third ambulance did turn up mid-afternoon and the Dowager was taken to "A&E".

I know that surgery receptionists have a job to do, apart from protecting and shielding their doctors from "nuisance patients"; and, consequently, they operate a rigorous regime. Nevertheless, they can, in stressful situations, be utterly insufferable and tiresome. Little wonder people can resort to superciliousness with them, as opposed to rudeness.

However, at the hospital the Dowager stayed in the ward overnight; and I collected her on Wednesday afternoon. To one's relief, she only has a sprained ankle - no fracture - so she has been provided with a "zimmer" and a carton of co-codamol tablets. We have Ibuprofen ointment at home as well, and this could be beneficial.

The administration of the Ulster Hospital persists in ripping off and depriving patients and their visitors of cash perennially by means of car parking charges. I paid £1.80 on Tuesday; and £1 yesterday for about 15 or 20 minutes. If the Northern Ireland Assembly and its Executive is worth its salt - or anything at all - it is long overdue the time that this extortion was prohibited and that the senior executives running our hospitals made accountable for such disgraceful tactics.

I've been told that some Ulster hospitals even charge in-patients for the "privilege" of watching television! The present Health Minister and his colleagues are sitting on their hands, as far as these scandals are concerned.

They keep claiming that they have no money or insufficient funds. Eh? They seem to have an abundance of funds for innumerable commissions, Ombudsmen, quangos, certain dubious benefits ad nauseum.

I compliment the nurses and staff at the hospital; I condemn the administration for the bureaucracy.


Sharon Owens said...

Dear Tim,

bless you and the lovely Dowager; I hope she feels better soon.

Timothy Belmont said...

Thanks, Sharon. You'll doubtless have gathered that Dowager = Mater!

I've made an appointment to discuss her medication - I can hear her rattling! - and discharge letter with the GP tomorrow.

Appreciate your kind words.


John Self said...

My good wishes to the Dowager too, Tim!

My brother-in-law devised a technique to minimise, though not avoid, payment at the Ulster Hospital car park when his wife was pregnant and he was routinely spending several pounds each visit. Before he left, he would walk to the entrance barrier and press for another ticket, then go to his car and leave the car park immediately using the new ticket, meaning he spent only the minimum charge each time.

I could not, of course, condone such illegal practice.

Timothy Belmont said...

Rest assured, I shall take note of that anecdote with due earnestness in future; without condoning such reprehensible behaviour, as you say. :-)

Many thanks indeed, by the way, for asking about Mum.