30th October 2015

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New Health Chat

19th November King's Fund 5.30pm

Lord Philip Hunt - shadow deputy leader House of Lords - former Trust Chair

What is the inside story of the H&SCAct,

What is Labour's health policy under Jeremy Corbyn? 

Tickets here.

Done it by now
News and Comment from Roy Lilley
In the last month I have been on a plane; went on line, booked the ticket, chose the seat, downloaded the gizmo thing onto my iPhone and that was that.
I have also been on a train; on-line booking, chose seat, used my Old Geezer's discount card.  Done.
I downloaded a Kindle book. And, I finished off all the probate and other malarkey, sorting out the Duchess' affairs, all down loaded from a very easy to use web-site.
I also had a bit of a panic; I couldn't remember when my car tax was due. The thingamajig is no longer in the window. A few clicks and I found the renewal date.
The ubiquitous web making life easier.   Everywhere. Everywhere except the NHS.
I absolutely get and understand the Tinkerman's frustration with the state of NHS IT. There is pretty well nothing I can't Google, find out or research. Everything except anything useful to do with the NHS.
I want the NHS in my pocket, on my phone, like I have the rest of the world's knowledge.
If your GP refers you, the Trusts sends you an appointment. That, of itself, invites disaster. The hospital sends you an appointment in the expectation that you will drop everything and attend. I can think of 20 reasons why it may not happen.
Then the palaver begins. If you are a no-show, what is the Trust to do? The referral is from the GP who thinks you would benefit from specialist advice or a diagnostic test.
If you don't attend, who better to ask if the advice or test is still required? The GP? You might argue, you are the best person to ask. On the other hand, you may not know.  Somebody must know? Who do we ask? 
The whole appointments 'thing' is soooo clunky.
Self-booking? We've been trying since 2005; it took a booklet and 28 slides to explain how Choose and Book worked. It has since been replaced by the NHS e-Referral Service which was to have started in 2014 but was postponed until 2015 after it failed an assessment by the Government Digital Service. Groan...
Where are we now? I have no idea! Paperless by 2018 - send me a letter, let me know how you are getting on. The HSCIC seem to have a handle on it.
At the first go-around booking a train or plane ticket is not that easy but, do it a few times and you kind of get it and the intuitive bit clicks in. This is a world away from chose and book.
Averagely, we don't use it often enough to overcome the intuitive bit and where do you do it? At home, in the practice, will the practice staff be on hand to give you a bit of coaching. Some do.
The GP has only got ten minutest to diagnose you, tell you to lose weight, stop smoking and drinking and try not to overlook a cancer.  They can't click about for ages. 
Can you commit there and then to a date or will you want to talk to a relative, carer or friend. Can they come with you? What are the bus times, can you get time off work?
Don't attend? How easy do we make it to cancel an appointment and make another one? My experience is, not easy at all. And getting another date there and then is beyond most hospital appointment systems.
I dare not ask how much of this could be done on Facetime or Skype.
We do need to sort this out but it ain't gonna be easy. It will mean changes to software, or more appointment clerks and much better phone access.
We don't call the Tinkerman, the Tinker man, lightly. He has no money to play with; all the Trusts have melted their budgets. He can only tinker. If you believe the CQC (and he does), quality is going down the toilet, safe staffing is parked, waiting times busted and targets shot through.
He is turning up at a Tsunami with a sponge and duster.
Tinkering with a patient facing improvement will play well with the Daily Mail and might shut the BMA up for a week. But, don't underestimate how tricky this will be.
If it was easy, cost free and a breeze don't you think we would have done it by now?
Have a good weekend.

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