So I am currently having serious issues with Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust. In particular, their Harefield outpost who are supposedly dealing with my heart issues. Well not dealing very well.
I raised a complaint after they wrote to me saying I did not attend an appointment which was by video link. I was there I waited for them for 45 minutes. They had a 30 minute appointment booked and they did not show.
My PA emailed them telling them to sort it out and explained that I would not wait as long next time. They were also told to correct the record and apologise. In addition, they told me to ask my GP for a particular blood test. They need to supply a particular form and have not done so.
Now, this is on top of so many issues I have had with Harefield. I get telephone calls saying they have written to me when they haven’t. When I moved house they were told the new address and put the wrong address on their system. It gets worse.
Anyway, I have very seriously had enough of them. They told me in 2019 that they would move all my care to my local hospital in Warwick. I rejoiced! No more 2 hour drives each way to visit them. Oh and better care too! This however was not to be the case.
I will not deal with them on the telephone anymore. Only in writing and they do not get this. The general arrogance and attitude of their staff beggars belief. A business acquaintance who has had their “care” calls the nursing staff at Harefield “The band 5 bullshitters!” I have come round to his way of thought and agree with his thoughts and the nickname now.
Moving on. I issued a Subject Access Request notice under the data protection act UK. Most organisations umm and ahh and will actively try and get out of such a request if they can. If they cannot you will bet your life that it will either be on the deadline or past it. No this was prompt. 5 days. The problem with it was that it was incomplete and lots of things were wrong. I gave them a chance to correct this and they refused. Hence the new medical data policy here. They will be getting a visit shortly when either I can be bothered to travel down or my Ukrainian “persuader” is available. Even though I am retired I am still very busy. They have already been invoiced for the waste of my time as per my policy on timewasters, you pay for wasting my time, my time has never been free and never will be. Wasting it is a very expensive business and there are more large invoices to GSTT and their staff to follow.
Now you see here, most organisations don’t want to put their heads above the parapet, but GSTT to use their short name did exactly that by misrecording data and by not telling the truth. I was at the appointment and they were not. This first issue should have been dealt with in under 10 minutes flat. This is good management. Apparently, NHS procedure is to allow 20 days for a complaint. Well, it has been over 20 days now in fact it has been over a complete month and nothing. They have listed things on their systems about me that are incorrect and they have not dealt with that in the time I allowed them either.
So, I have conducted my own investigation and I present my findings. GSTT obviously needs the 20 days and more time to conduct and concoct a cover-up. It certainly will not be a proper investigation by them. The “band 5 bullshitters” nickname is appropriate given some of the evidence I have and some of the bullshit in the Subject Access Request submission. I suspect there are other things they want to hide so have not sent everything. Add this to what I have seen with my own eyes in my time spent there my own opinion is that Harefield should be classed as an unsafe hospital. I have over 60 pages of handwritten notes about issues with Harefield hospital. My investigation took a lot less than 20 days. It didn’t even take one day.
I will raise another issue with them here that is more global and not personal. This concerns staff recruited from other countries. I spent some time as a senior leader in international medical recruitment. The NHS has a rule that staff recruited from overseas must have a level of English called IELTS of seven. I know quite well the differences between the levels and I used to conduct English assessments for staff coming to the UK. I have come across international staff at GSTT and not just at the Harefield site, their two main London sites too whose level of English is clearly way below IELTS seven! Level seven IELTS is a hard thing to achieve. You must have a very good command of the English language to achieve this and it takes a lot of study. GSTT appears to like sticking to NHS procedures. I have seen that they didn’t stick to this one!
Another acquaintance of mine wrote widely over this weekend that the NHS has over-egged underserved sympathy for its cause over the years. He argues that people shouldn’t do things such as clap for the NHS on a Thursday night. His argument is that the NHS doesn’t deserve it. He argues that this support would be better deployed to more deserving causes. In the case of GSTT I agree.
He goes on to say that the NHS needs to be replaced by a better organisation. I agree. Certainly, I think GSTT needs to be replaced and as far as Harefield hospital goes, I think better use can be found for the site. I am generally against privatisation of the NHS or making it fee-paying for the consumer but I think it is the only real way for change. Paying customers in a competitive market would get the correct service and not the level of “service” outlined above.
I am actually sick and tired of blogging about poor management in the NHS on this website. There are loads of blogs here on this subject. So let me distill it down. The NHS does not have good managers. Speaking as a former business leader. I wouldn’t trust any NHS manager from CEO down to fresh junior leader to go to the shop for a pint of milk with the right money and come back with the correct change! I wouldn’t let them do it. I would even have concerns about letting them count paperclips! Car park sweeping is a job I reserve for the most idiotic member of staff. Again I wouldn’t trust any of them to sweep it properly. Yes, the situation is that bad.
Edit 05/03/2020: More issues have been found