NHS appointments (Jesus Christ!)

It’s not just junior doctors shooting-up in the toilets and nurses weeping on the wards, the whole of the NHS is in crisis.

I have been trying to book appointments. That’s why my blood pressure is so high.

I received a letter from the GP asking me to book an appointment for an annual Mental Health Well-Being check-up. Obviously increased my anxiety, but I phoned them up. It turns out you can’t book an appointment. I was given a time slot for tomorrow to phone and book an appointment. You have to have an appointment to book an appointment.

I have to have an Electrocardiogram (ECG) done. Don’t worry, it’s not the stress of booking appointments, it’s routine for mental patients on the heavy drugs they give us.

The Cardiology Department is the opposite of the rest of the NHS. Instead of waiting weeks, months or years, they want you to come in the same day. It’s enough to give you a heart attack. The woman wanted me to go in this afternoon. I couldn’t do that. I need at least a few days to psych myself up to go into a hospital, I do my weekly shop at Sainsbury’s Thursday afternoons and I’m busy writing this nonsense.

After some haggling, we agreed I’d go for my ECG next Wednesday. It’s handy as while I’m at the Chelsea & Westminster I can go for a blood test. I’m not sure I’m due a blood test, but I enjoy them as the staff are very friendly. They’re mostly Muslim women in hijabs. That said, I don’t want to be culturally insensitive. Maybe the Muslim women in full face veils are very friendly too. The thing is it’s hard to tell.

Just when you think I might have been through enough NHS appointment hell I have to arrange to see the dentist.

The local dentist – friendly Muslim woman – has referred me to Guy’s Special Care & Sedation Unit. I have been there before. It’s on the 26th floor. You can see right across the capital. London Bridge Station below looks like a child’s train set.

After my initial consultation, I was told I would be contacted in a few weeks about a follow-up appointment. A month later, nothing. Thought I’d better phone them. A nice woman told me there was no trace of me on the system. She gave the direct number to the consultant’s office. Tried for days, but no answer. Probably playing golf or high on the gas and air. Thought I’d send an email, typing in what may be the world’s most tortuous email address. Two weeks, no response. A follow-up email, no response.

So I have my appointment to make an appointment tomorrow with the GP. The ECG receptionist probably thinks I deserve to have a heart attack. To Guy’s dentists, I don’t exist.

It’ll be a miracle if I survive this.

Featured image: Christ healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda
1667-70, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo 1617 – 1682, Oil on canvas, 237 x 261 cm. Presented through The Art Fund in memory of W. Graham Robertson, 1950. The National Gallery




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