Now I know most of you will think this is an April fool wind up but I kid you not.
We are working out of a practice that is bursting at the seams. It was built to look after 4,500 patients and our list size is now well over 9,000.
We are arranging to store those outdated Lloyd George records – named after David Lloyd George a member of the government 100 years ago, off-site as we are now fully computerised. These paper records do nothing but take up valuable space. It beggars belief that when a patient moves onto another surgery apart from forwarding on their computer records we are also meant to print these off – at great expense to our carbon footprint and a loss of valuable administration time.
As a result, we have taken the decision that such appalling wastage should be avoided. Sadly I suspect that the CQC will instruct us that we are breaking our contract. To which we will answer please tell us how they can justify such waste of time. However, the NHS is a master of wastage. It sits on a mountain of useless data which took eons to amalgamate and I suspect will never be looked at.
However this month I celebrate that fact that the contents of our Olympics emergency package has finally expired and we can bin it without fear of being incarcerated in the Tower of London.
I’m sure a few of you are perplexed that a sporting event 6 years ago still has an impact on your care today. The story typifies thinking in the NHS.
Back in 2008 when they started planning for the Olympics some bright spark noted that a chunk of the events would be taking part in Weymouth. They reasoned that this sleepy town in Dorset would be a soft target for terrorists and that plans should be made to prevent/prepare for such a calamity. The prevention plans were superb and largely involved persuading everybody to stay away from Weymouth because it would be so busy with Olympians and Olympic tourists.
They actually managed to chuck the baby out with the bath water. We donned our nuclear fallout kit and ventured into Weymouth for one of the Saturdays to find that the town was largely deserted – indeed the only people we found were disgruntled shop owners who had never known the business so quiet. There seemed little likelihood of a terrorist invasion. Which makes the NHS response to the potential crisis even more laughable.
Six weeks before Boris Johnson had started his bid to oust David Cameron, oops sorry, opened the Olympics, we received a first aid bag with which we could treat the terrorist fall out from Weymouth. I phoned up the boffins in London who had looked at the map and obviously formed the understandable mistake that Bournemouth was a suburb of Weymouth, to point out that we were a 50-minute drive away and most victims would be dead long before they made it to Denmark Road.
I also told them that I planned to visit the Olympic town at the weekends rather than wait at work for the casualties to be ferried to us and finally I explained that intensive care facilities at Denmark Road were limited – and perhaps the local hospitals might be more appropriate. If in their planning models were correct and there were hundreds of thousands of casualties and as such all GPs would need to be mobilised, I pointed out the obvious floor in their argument ie we’d probably all be dead and that society would have ceased to function. But no, they were insistent they’d sent it to the correct address because they’d sent these useless bags to every practice in Dorset!!!
At this point you realise you’re dealing with an organisation which hasn’t so much lost the plot, but probably never had a plot to lose in the first place. So I opened up the green bag to see what goodies we could sell on E-bay one day. Alas, that plan was kyboshed almost immediately – who in their right mind wants to buy body bags? Thankfully the day has arrived when they’re time expired and we can dump them.
I should hardly be surprised that as we’re freeing up a bit of space in one area we get advise about how to deal with a possible chemical attack from President Putin. The missive begins with how to recognise a chemical attack – ‘its possible you’ve happened upon a chemical attack if there are a lot of dead people and animals’ – strangely in the absence of large craters in the ground and buildings in ruin all around, the thought of something wrong might cross my mind.
It goes on to give some pointers about what to do next, but just like 5 years ago in the Olympics, there is a complete detachment from reality. My advice to all and sundry is, should you happen upon a field full of dead animals and humans, do not venture forth to administer first aid, do not phone 111 – by the time they’ve got your details (on average about 10 minutes) you may have died from inhaling whatever it is that has laid everyone low – phone 999 and insist they send the army in!!.
Interestingly that was not mentioned in their leaflet.