Sunday, 2 August 2015

Addressing the Rudeness of Receptionists and a Grumpy Old Man on his way to Uganda

It was a fairly busy week last week. When Friday came I have to say I was feeling tired. And certainly I was tired of meeting difficult receptionists. I had a consultation appointment with a trauma and orthopaedic specialist, an appointment held in a local community health centre. Walking in I was instructed by a number of notices telling me to report to reception. So I did, and was greeted with ‘name?’

 ‘Hello’ I said,

‘NAME?’ was the response.

I gave her my name. ‘Address?’ - I gave her my address. ‘Phone number?’ – I gave her my phone number. ‘It’s not the same number I've got’ she said with a triumphal smile on her face; how do I know who you are she declared…

 ‘Google me’ I said.

‘Upstairs and wait to be called’ was her final response.
I know, I know, I’m an adult and should know better… …but I do get so fed up with poor service from those that should be there to help others. Later in the week I went to pick up my antimalarial medication from a hospital pharmacy. Walking into the pharmacy I was greeted by a sign stating: ‘No medication given to staff without identification’. I thought not a problem for me as I wasn't a member of staff. How wrong could I be!? The prescription for the medication had been written by a doctor on the staff, and it appeared even though this was a NHS Trust I had nothing whatsoever to do with, as I was picking this medication up, by default I became a member of staff.

Yes you've guessed it, I was greeted with ‘name?’

‘Hello’ I said,

‘NAME?’ was the response. I gave her my name. ‘identification?’ – having been in this situation once before that week, I thought why not cut to the chase - ‘Google me’ I said.


Thankfully I had my Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust identity card on me and I was able to show that, collect my medication and get away.  Now some of you might be thinking ‘grumpy old man’ and you would be right. But in my defence, last week a paper published in the Journal of Ageing reported that the male menopause  is real (not that I doubted it for a moment), and of course one of the symptoms is grumpiness...

But of course, as irritated and grumpy as I might have been, both these receptionists, in their own way were trying to ensure I was being kept safe while receiving my healthcare. This was a theme that formed the focus for the two day Making Safety Visible learning workshop I participated in. Bringing together many of the Acute NHS Trust in Greater Manchester, along with many of the Clinical Commissioning Groups, the workshop was an opportunity to blend theory (of improvement science) with examples of practical service improvements aimed at improving the safety of health care services.

I was there as part of the WWL Trust Board team and during the 2 days we were able to celebrate the progress made in a couple of areas of safety improvement. One initiative was in addressing the processes that ensure people get onto the 60 day cancer pathway and the associated public health and health education measures that need to be put in place. This is work being undertaken with the Christie NHS Trust. The other initiative we were able to celebrate was the 7 Days, No Delays Project. This aimed to bring together all parties in the local health and social care economy / geography to ensure people were admitted and discharged appropriately with the right services being provided by the right people at the right time. Being the creative and fun loving team we are, we decided to present the work through a specially developed team rap song. Treat yourself to 90 seconds of pure celebration by watching here

It was long 2 days of workshop activity squeezed into what was a very busy week anyway. I had 10 professorial applications reports to write. Whilst this meant burning the midnight oil, it was actually a great joy to do as for me it was a real opportunity to respond to the ambitions being demonstrated by my colleagues working in the School. Friday I had my 1-2-1 meeting with our VC, always a great joy and there was much to discuss, particularly around some of the health innovation plans for Greater Manchester – something I am looking forward to being part of.

It was an opportune discussion as yesterday I spent the day travelling to Uganda with Ged Byrne and Laura Roberts. Ged is one of the 4 Health Education England Deans and Directors of Education and Quality, and Laura the Director of the Health Education England (North). It was a long day’s travel, (18 hours door to door) but there was plenty of time to talk, and talking is always a good thing to do. This blog comes from my bed in Kampala, and is posted by a very grumpy old man as it 02.12 Uganda time. Next week's blog will describe the work with the Global Health Exchange that brings me to Uganda. 

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