Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Never Helpful Service

My red inhaler has reached its red line. That means, there's no more steroids left for me to inhale into my lungs in order for me to prevent my asthma symptoms which can come and go as they please, uninvited. And I have had these unwanted symptoms 'visiting' me quite regularly this last week. Thank god for the normal brown one that I have but I do prefer the red one because if I use that one - I probably wont need the blue one. You dig all this Asthma talk?

So on Monday, after sending my son to school, I pushed my youngest son in his red and well used maclaren stroller (details given so that you can imagine me clearly in your mind..) to the Health Centre, which is situated just across the road from the school, a little short of breathe because of the mild slope into the back entrance and by the time I reached the entrance doors, I was cursing myself because I did not bring my blue inhaler - because I might just need it. But it doesn't matter, I thought, as I went straight to the counter to fill up a form for a repeat prescription, which will be ready in 48 hours.

Cut straight to Wednesday.

I was at the same counter again, asking for my prescription so that I can give it to my husband - to buy in a pharmacy near his office. After looking at the file of prescriptions a few times and asking me when exactly I came to fill up the form, and then asking some other people inside the room behind her, the lady started to rummage inside a small tray filled with letters and prescriptions which I presumed just came out of the doctor's office. And then she was holding my form, with the doctor's scrawl at the top.

"Right," said the lady after reading the note."You need to see the nurse first for an asthma check and a flu jab. Then the doctor will give you the prescription." (Old people, children and people with asthma can get a free flu jab every winter)

"Huh? But I don't want a flu jab." (My husband took a flu job last year - his company pays for them - and somehow, he straight away went down with a cold and it lasted for quite some time. His doctor said that this could happen to some people who took the flu jab and I did not want to take this risk.)

"Well, you still need to see the nurse for an asthma check."
"But I've already had an asthma check last year, when the prescription was given to me."
"Yes. But you need to take it every year."
"Every year? So I can't get a prescription until then? But my inhaler is very nearly finished... (I lied, obviously, as I didn't want to get a lecture as to how I should have done the whole process of getting a repeat prescription WELL BEFORE the inhaler finishes.)

The lady just nodded apologetically. "Well..I'm sorry but that's what the doctor said.."

Fine. Not wanting to shoot the messenger, I just sighed and smiled at her because from her expression, clearly she thought the situation a bit silly as well. At least this lady had some sense in her head, I thought.

And then, naturally, I asked to make an appointment with the nurse. The lady started to open the appointment books and I saw her pointing at the earliest available date - 14th of February - 2 weeks from today! I fumed. The doctor expected me to wait 2 weeks to get my inhaler? And even after meeting the nurse, I might need to see the doctor again - set an appointment again that may take more than a few days - for the prescription because obviously, the nurse could not write the prescription for me...

Of all the bullshit in the world.

And to add to my disgust and absolute annoyance, the lady in front of me was pointing at the date on the book with finger nails that were so dirty that I nearly let out a loud 'YUCK...!!'

Everything about this free service is just CRAP!


jujuqtpie said...

Of course it's CRAP. That's why it's free. With stuff that's free, a hell lot of patience is needed. It's just like servicing your car at EON especially when service is supposed to be free. Customer service...what customer service! You're there, they're there. They're walking around pretending not to see you. I know it's not exactly the same but I understand your frustration.

FloweRinTheDesert said...

Ewww dirty fingernails! GROSSnye! You poor thing, so how now? What did u do in the end? How u gonna get that prescription for your new inhaler?

halwafy said...

Just came back from the hospital: got my inhalers, alhmdllh...:)

The doctor at the hosp said that he's surprised at my GP's actions..

mami-oh-mummy said...

perhaps they are underpaid or some political thing is happening behind the curtain ;)

alhmdulillah u've got ur inhalers...i hate the nhs system too...esp. for people with kids kot emergency ke...u know like us in malaysia...we can just walk-in to any clinics anywhere esp. yg ada 24-hr service tu kan...

jujuqtpie said...

Well, Alhamdulillah you got your inhalers already and didn't have to wait too long. So FREE is not that bad after all. :)

Working Mom said...

good u've got inhaler, do get well soon.

i didn't expect the nhs service to suck... well it sounds just like the government hospitals here but free and crappy service is still acceptable, the worst is paid and yet still get crappy service.

halwafy said...

M-O-M and WM: so true. I'd rather pay than go through this again.