I had to take my girlfriend to the new NHS Primary Care Centre on Whitegate Drive today after she had an accident involving a work Christmas party, lots of alcohol and high heels. I’m sure you can figure the rest, needless to say she has trouble walking at the moment!
We walked into reception and the place was utterly empty with only a scruffy receptionist in an old brown jumper to be seen. He directed us to the NHS walk-in centre which is on the first floor (up that big ramp if you’re outside). On the way there we saw no-one and once in the waiting area there was nobody sat on the new looking blue faux leather seats. Behind the desk were 5 receptionists, though, and judging by the way they were huddled around one computer screen giggling I’d guess they were browsing pictures of a night out on a social networking website.
Completing the scene were two bouncers muttering about how Rumours never has much trouble because they employ an army of Polish boxers and a Ukranian called Turbo as doormen. The bouncers made me laugh quite a bit actually because they were like Laurel and Hardy. One was fat and authoritative and one was thin and submissive. I didn’t hear any shouts of “STANLEY!” though.
Unsurprisingly given the lack of people, my girlfriend was seen by a doctor quickly who, after laughing at her predicament, said it would need an X-Ray to be sure that she’d not broken anything. The new NHS centre has full imaging facilities, of course. Only trouble is they don’t open at weekends, so the doctor gave her a letter to take to A&E at Blackpool Victoria asking for an X-Ray. No wonder there was nobody in the place.
Correct me if I am wrong but I thought the whole point in these super clinics and walk-in centres was to take the pressure off hospital accident and emergency departments. I think it’s fair to say that A&E is at its busiest over the weekend, what with alcohol related accidents in the booze capital of the North West. Yet this brand new facility is for the most part closed down. Do they really think people don’t get ill over the weekend?
We went to A&E at BVH. I dropped my girlfriend off at the entrance and went to look for somewhere to park. It seemed like the whole world wanted to find a space but eventually I found one, at which point I received a text saying that she’d seen a jobsworth Filipino triage nurse who wouldn’t accept the letter from Whitegate Drive Primary Care Centre because the doctor hadn’t filled in an X-Ray form. So she would have to see a doctor again and go through it all like at the walk-in centre. She was told it would be at least 2 hours before she could get an X-Ray at which point I thought, “bollocks to this,” and went home to watch the football.
She saw a doctor after one hour and had to wait a further two hours for an X-Ray. The doctor offered her pain relief in the form of cocodamol (30mg codeine, 500 mg paracetamol) which she rejected as it makes her fall asleep. The doctor then proceeded to write her a prescription for… cocodamol. Bizarre. I’d given her some diclofenac which worked well for pain relief so eventually the doctor wrote a prescription for that, but she was then told that in order to get a sick note she would have to go to her GP and have them look at it as well.
X-Ray showed no breaks and 3 and a half hours later she was home.
It’s no wonder the NHS is so poorly run and requires so much money if in order to get a simple process like a sprained ankle done you have to see three doctors, umpteen nurses and a radiographer, but this is another example of Labour’s wastage of our cash. It has mindlessly thrown money at the problem of the NHS without any attention to where and how the money is spent. So we might have new spangly Primary Care Centres, but if they only run a skeleton crew at weekends what’s the fucking point?
If I had any need of the NHS at weekend now, I’d go straight to BVH, bypassing the walk-in centre completely.