Having read “NHS struggles to meet jab demand” and Ms Inverarity’s letter on excellent service from the NHS, I saw a conflict.
So what was my experience, as a septuagenarian with underlying health conditions?
I received an email from NHS Scotland on October 1. I found the wording confusing – I don’t think it was age-related brain fog but who knows. Then I rang the telephone number on the email and was answered within three minutes by a very pleasant lady who said to call back in 14 days if I hadn’t received a letter.
I received a letter saying an appointment had been made for me at the local clinic for the day before the letter arrived. I rang the telephone number on the letter which was answered in four minutes and was given an appointment at the local clinic two days later.
I arrived at the clinic at the allocated time and was processed immediately. The team had one dilapidated netbook and large piles of printouts (oh the joys of political rhetoric of austerity).
The team improvised brilliantly and my jab was delivered speedily without fuss.
Thankfully the local NHS team are intelligent and empathetic and I am sure it is not unique. So thanks to the excellence of the NHS staff another satisfied patient – no, I won’t use the term customer as it is offensive in this setting.
Last Monday my wife received her letter with the invitation to attend a clinic that day.
Pity the time she was supposed to attend was two hours before the letter arrived! Then the same thing happened to myself, after trying unsuccessfully for three hours to get through on the helpline number supplied to try and rebook.
I emailed the helpline and got an automated response that my email might not be seen for a further 48 hours.
Despite worries about this year’s flu jag being handled directly by the NHS, I was invited to attend my local school.
The hall was well organised and spaced with very pleasant staff and I was seen early, had my injection and left early.
Well done to the NHS organisers and staff.
Dennis Forbes Grattan.