Monthly Archives: November 2011

Welcome to Lansley’s Britain. The doctor will see you now, but only if it’s really important.

I went to see my GP yesterday. Well, I went to see *a* GP – do people still have specific named doctors? I dunno. Anyway, I went along, after much (several months) procrastination about how there isn’t really anything wrong with me, I just need to man up a bit. FYI, I have (in all likelihood) nerve damage in my right ear, which can result in an acutely painful buzzing and distortion of sound in noisy environments. A primary school classroom, for example. Hey, guess where I work! So I wanted to ask what was wrong with my ear, and what could be done about it. Also, I’ve had lower back trouble for, like, ever, due to somehow having scoliosis of the spine when I was a teenager, so I wanted to get some advice and see a physio. Reasonable?

The first thing the GP (who looked about 17 – even younger than most police officers) said was “Well, we’ve only got ten minutes, so which thing is the most important?”. OK, great, I’m really not feeling the sympathy here. I explained about my back, filling in chronological details about previous visits, wondering why she couldn’t just read the notes on her screen. She said referring me for physio wouldn’t be any different to treatment I’d had in the past, so I should just do some basic stretches and exercise. I insisted I didn’t want to do anything spine-wise without checking with a physio to make sure I was doing it right (oh yes, and I mentioned I *had* tried exercise, and each time it left me in agony for about 24hrs afterwards). She looked put out, but sighed and filled out a referral form.

Ears? Is your hearing normal? Er, I dunno, I think so. How the hell would I know if it wasn’t? (I didn’t actually say that last bit). No, nothing we can do. I mean, I could refer you to the ENT dept at the hospital, but they wouldn’t be able to help either, so if you don’t think it’s that important we’d be better saving the £400 it would cost to send you there. Now get out, you time-wasting, money-wasting whiner (she didn’t actually say that last bit). But she really did say the bit about saving £400.

Let’s skip past the possibilities of proper hearing tests, or earplugs, or anything else this supposedly omniscient GP failed to mention, and just concentrate on the complete lack of patient care here. She told me upfront my time in her presence was limited, she asked me to decide if my problems were important, she implied I was asking for something useless (more physio), and she finished up by telling me any further enquiries about such trivial issues would cost, sorry “waste”, the NHS £400.

I’d like to round off with a snappy retort, but I’m too cross. And I’m probably wasting everybody’s precious time anyway.


Working with a tale-teller

One of the very best parts of my working life is the chance to work/play alongside the inimitable Shonaleigh – described on her website as “a modern day Shaharazad”, she is a wonder weaver, a tale-teller, and a privilege to work with.

She got me running craft workshops in two primary schools in October, creating artworks to decorate Continue reading