Our NHS – Hang on a minute… #12

red tape

I had a bit of a deja vu moment today, those of you who have followed the # from the early days will know that I feel very strongly that the NHS does itself no credit with regards to the trivial, inflexible & hugely frustrating “rules” which are some time held up when people want to do something different to the accepted norm!

There are a number of ways in which these frustrations could be reduced or even eradicated, if only people would use their brains a little more.

roundtoitIn an effort to get organised, I finally got my act together today & took the yellow sharps box, into which I put the used syringes with which I had to inject myself with for two weeks post op.

This box has been leering at me for several months from a cupboard top in our porch, but it hasn’t had any significant effect on me until this week when I decided to try & tidy the porch up a bit!

I was told by the District Nurse, who came to make sure I knew what I was doing prior to turning my stomach into a human pin cushion; that I could drop the box in to my local GP surgery. Easy.


When I pitched up at Wind in the Willows surgery, full of the joys of New Year’ Receptionist A listened to my explanation re said District Nurse & then informed me that I couldn’t deposit the sharps box with them. It seems that this is because the WitW have to pay to have their sharps boxes collected. What she could do was: ring the District Nursing service to ask them to arrange for the box to be collected from my home by the contracting company who undertake this work.

I know I must be returning to some semblance of normality because a couple of weeks ago, I would have shrugged my shoulders & gone with the flow. Today however, I felt the first returning stirrings of incredulity (hooray). I was polite & hopefully pleasant (although I know some people whom feel themself to be in authority don’t like to be “challenged”) , reiterating that this was a one-off & it would be really helpful if I could leave the box with them.

A disappeared in to the back office to seek advice & then re-emerged to tell me that she was going to ask the Practice Nurse about my request (this is called Buck Passing). I planted myself in a chair and waited.

And waited.

After 20 minutes I returned to the desk (Receptionist A had by now abandoned her post & presumably was hanging out in the back office). receptionist B then came out & again politely & pleasantly I reiterated my situation (now beginning to become an embryonic plight!) & was told that Receptionist A was waiting for the Practice Nurse to be free. I explained that I had to be back at the house by 11.45 (it was now 11.35) & that I would be grateful if she could help. Receptionist B disappeared & within a minute or two the Senior Receptionist emerged for me to make the third iteration (argh!!). A few moments later all three of them reappeared to tell me that the Practice Nurse had decreed on this occasion that I could leave the sharps box! facepalm-polarbear.jpg

Now here’s the thing (yes I know it’s an American expression, but I do like it!).

Drug dependent people who use syringes take their sharps – hopefully in boxes to their local drop in centre. People who are self injecting long-term have a different arrangement (not sure what). As a “one-off” however, I can’t help thinking that is far from unreasonable for the local GP surgery to accept the odd sharps box.

I can’t imagine that there is much difference in costs (I suspect that doing this is cheaper in fact for the NHS), rather than the expense which must surely be incurred by the normal convoluted arrangement…

Given that I could have put the box in the household waste, driven up a country lane & dumped it from the car window I think that I behaved responsibly & that my request was reasonable.

I’ve added this little experience to my list of things to talk through with the right people when I get back to work.

Notwithstanding that each surgery has its own budget, they remain part of Primary Care & the NHS & at the end of the day surely it doesn’t hurt to help a patient out & save everyone a bit of hassle & expense…


Just saying!

Holly x


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