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Grantham Journal column: Testing our patients

By Dr Gillian Sutherland

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

The plight of all Grantham patients forced to travel here, there and everywhere for NHS treatment they could have had in their own hospital was brought home to me recently in no uncertain terms.

For the umpteenth time since being operated on for ear cancer at Boston, I was due to fulfil an after care appointment at Pilgrim Hospital, which in my opinion could have just as easily been done at Grantham.

This was partly because each previous appointment had ended with the same words: “No sign of it returning,” and I expected the current trek to end the similarly. A simple case of observation with a professional eye needed.

My latest ordeal began in an even worse fashion than usual, when my NSL driver turned up and announced: “Right! Off we go to Derby!”

“Boston,” I replied. “My appointment is at Pilgrim Hospital.”

Once we had established that my name was not the one on his list, we discovered that his real patient lived at the same number in the same street, but in a different block of flats (Whoops SKDC).

My own driver arrived late, but got me to the destination on time, only to discover that due to a computer crash, my appointment had been delayed anyway. More unnecessary stress for someone told to avoid it.

To cut a long story short, my “date” eventually materialised, but I was informed that it was a waste of time in any case.

Result? I was discharged from further such appointments to stop wasting their time, unless the cancer did return, when I should get in touch immediately and they would see me again.

Meanwhile, a friend much more seriously ill than me was being seen at Grantham Hospital at the same time. Special measures? I think it’s the ‘clinical clowns’ who need them, not me!


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