Those of you that have recently tried to get a doctor’s appointment or, heavens forbid, have gone to A&E will most likely know what I’m referring to. It may not be directly effecting your part of the country, but the United Kingdom is currently 165,000 care workers short – that includes NHS staff, local GP’s and hospitals.
That number isn’t going down either – in fact, it’s going up at a steady rate.
Not another crisis, I hear you cry. Sadly, yes – yet another crisis that requires us as individuals to remain vigilant and keep informed. I’ve recently been to A&E following a severe allergic reaction and, although I was seen fairly quickly, the individual I saw was far more interested in running off to another area to see someone being arrested because their co-worker ran in and told them about it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of drama as much as the next person – but you’re working in a hospital, literally sitting opposite someone with a rash covering their entire body, their legs turning blue and your immediate reaction is “omg brb lol”. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed.
Then there was my recent dental fiasco that lead to that rash I mentioned…
After an abscess formed beneath one of my bottom left wisdom teeth and became far too painful to bear, I went to my nearest dentist and paid £50 for an emergency appointment – an emergency appointment that was actually not an appointment at all.
I told them my issue, received a prescription and was sent off.
The anti-biotics did nothing and I managed to convince the receptionist to allow me back at no charge to have the issue fixed.
Turns out, it was a free follow up appointment and nothing was done.
I lay there in literal agony being told by the dentist that they were overwhelmed with clients and that they could definitely not fit me in at that dental practise. Instead, I was put on an “NHS pathway” – a pathway that only finalised 3 weeks after being put on it – by which point, after my A&E visit, I was put on the correct medication and had recovered.
From these experiences, it has reinforced my beliefs that at all levels you must put the customer/user first – and a failure to understand the needs and concerns of customers can lead to service breakdown that ends up destroying your reputation.