Phoned the GP at 8.40 this morning, to attempt to get an appointment to follow-up on my dislocated hip, and the new and mysterious pains in my hands. Of course, the only “appointment” available was a phone consultation on Wednesday, and since I needed to be physically examined (I’m not saying that eyes were needed, I’m saying that either sight or touch was needed) that wasn’t going to quite cut the mustard.
So off to the walk-in clinic I go, on one of the two days that they suggest is “least busy”. It was still a two and a half hour wait. I had a book with me (One of the Aubrey and Maturin adventures) btu I still couldn’t quite filter out the horrible things on the practice’s TV.
First, guidelines on “exercise”.
“Pushing a lawnmower or going for a brisk walk counts as moderate exercise. Sorry, but shopping and housework, whilst exciting, aren’t exercise”
Is it just me that can’t see why a half-hour walk IS exercise, but a half-hour walk whilst looking in shop windows and weaving between aisles of food isn’t? Likewise, why pushing a lawnmower is exercise, but a trolley filled with bottles of lemonade isn’t? The only difference I can see is “Shopping and housework are feminised, gardening and walking aren’t”.
Second, the “Don’t just rush to A+E” song. Go and watch it, I’ll be right here.
– It directs “Broken bones” to the walk-in clinic (What the hell is a walk-in clinic going to do with a compound fracture?) and worse than that says “You can hop to a walk-in”. Yes, that’s exactly the level of compassion shown to people with leg injuries. I’ve phoned up with a dislocated hip before and been told “You can get a bus”.
– The main character is clearly coded as a young working-class woman (Short pink dress, blonde hair, fake tan, fake nails, whereas the doctors and other patients were all either male or middle-class coded) and the reasons she went to A+E were all very femme-coded (Fake tan went wrong, nail got stuck, cat got ill, had thrush). It pretty well perpetuates the stereotype of “Stupid chav women getting all hysterical” and adds to the chances that young women are going to be treated badly at accidenta and emergency if they have a problem that’s not “A heart attack, a stroke, burns or major bleeding” (The exact list of reasons for going to A+E that are approved of in the video).
– The video doesn’t mention 111 at all, which is pretty much the best/first place to go. They do a good job of directing basically everyone to either A+E, their local doctor, or sending an out-of-hours doctor to the house. 111 will send ambulances for all sorts of things not covered by the video, including mental health crises, which brings me on to my next point;
– For a lot of people having episodes of acute mental ill-health (Suicidal ideation, psychosis, urges to self harm, delirium, etc) A+E is the best possible place to be. This terrible video completely excludes them from their long and exhaustive list of conditions and where to go with them.
– Similar applies to unusual or complex symptoms of long-term conditions. Or indeed any acknowledgment of long-term conditions at all.
After two hours of this, a quick fifteen-minute detour to get a cup of tea and fifteen minutes’ more waiting, I got my appointment – Upstairs, with the nurse practitioner. Someone who couldn’t prescribe and couldn’t diagnose.
On the other hand, she was great. She was really sympathetic (Although amazed that I was here about the pain in my hands, and not trying to get a follow-up on the dislocated hip which put me in hospital last week) and got me referred back to physio – This time, with the local team instead of the hospital team at CA. She couldn’t get me the much-needed MRI for my hip, but I’ll phone up and see if I can get a phone consultation to get that.
A bit inefficient, but it’s a start.