Letter: Revelations in hospital waiting room

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One of the only good things about sitting around in hospital waiting rooms is, that you sometimes get to talk to some lovely people.

On one such occasion I met lady, who had received a letter about a hospital procedure, asking her to telephone.

She had gone in to Dewsbury Hospital from goodness knows where, because she could not use the phone effectively. This was, as she explained, because she had hearing aids in both ears and needed to lip read. She found her way to the blue outpatients area and asked the receptionist what it was about. The receptionist told her, she could not help because it was a ‘Choose and Book’ appointment, and that the lady would have to phone up.

The lady explained her hearing problem and the receptionist told her that it was not even any good going to the general enquiry desk, because it was a ‘Choose and Book’ appointment, so the hospital staff could not help. Exasperated the lady asked what she should do to find out about the letter, so the receptionist told her to go back to her GP, and ask there!

Now what I know and what the lady probably did not know, is that the ‘Choose and Book service is run, by a ‘for profit’ company. Because the GP should have known that his/her patient had trouble using the telephone, it is my contention that she was exploited. I have told her story but she has not been exploited by me.

If she had been my sister or my mother I would do the same. A private provider was getting money from NHS England, for providing something which was not accessible to that patient. She had a wasted journey to the hospital and back, and had to return to the GP! Does her GP have an financial interest in the ‘for profit’ company which operates ‘Choose and Book’? Even if it was an innocent mistake on behalf of the GP, it rather flies in the face of the Chair of North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group, David Kelly’s assertion that GPs know their patients!

Watch out, the lure of money’s about.

Christine Hyde

Scarr End Lane