A waste of time and money for all concerned

Posted by @ 3:10 pm on Tuesday 1st August, 2017.
Categories: A bit of a rant

It's that time again. The annual Vascular Review. It's always a good indicator of how provincial our NHS is.

My GP's surgery is in Leicestershire and if I need specialist treatment they refer me to one of the three Leicester hospitals which use a common networked data system so there's a shared data repository. The edited highlights, such as blood-test results, treatment regimes and medical procedures are communicated to my GP. It's not rocket-science.

At that same Leicestershire GP surgery is a Vascular Clinic (VC) where they monitor "those who have a medical history of Coronary Heart Disease (Heart Attacks and Angina), Strokes or Mini-Strokes and Peripheral Vascular Disease". Once a year they take your bloods, send them off for testing, and later they call you back in for a review. The VC team works independently, keeps its own records, and sends the bloods for testing at The George Eliot over the border in Warwickshire.

But there are problems... the Leicestershire data system and the Warwickshire data system don't interact very well at all, and access to one does not necessarily give access to the other.

So on the one hand we have GPs who get the data from the Leicester hospitals, and on the other hand we have the VC team which gets the Warwickshire blood-test results but can't access any of the 137 blood-test results that the Leicester hospitals have on record for me from FBC/cholesterol/ferritin/glucose tests done during the last 20 months (including 21 test results since the previous Vascular Review), tests which will continue to be done on a frequent basis for at least another 16 months, and intermittently after that until I fall off the perch of mortality and go on to mime in the Norwegian Blue Choir.

It would be so easy if the VC team could use either the phone or the computer to call up my most-recent test-results (13th July 2017 at The Royal), review them, and then either phone me or send me a letter telling me that I don't need to attend because all is well. I already know that all is well - the team at The Royal is currently checking these things at least once every two months, not once every 12 months.

But no, that's far too simple and therefore it can't be done. Instead, to maintain the unnecessary complexity and wastefulness that the NHS has become inured to, I had to attend an appointment at the VC for another needle in the arm (but, strangely, they did no standard obs such as blood pressures, heart-rate, respiration and sats), and now I'm waiting to be called in for another appointment at the VC for a review of the results when they become available. It's unlikely that anything bad will show up, but if it does it'll mean yet another appointment with the GP which will probably result in a referral to one of the three Leicester hospitals, thus perpetuating the data disconnect.

Bloody Hell, as the saying goes.

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