Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Target to spin

Among my recent tribulations with the health service has been two appointments to the eye clinic at our local hospital, Addenbrookes.

Each time I've gone they've given me an eye test, you know the sort, big letters at the top, getting smaller each line down. Not just me, absolutely everybody who comes into the department for an appointment gets an eye test, no matter what their ailment.

Now, the fact is, my eye sight is not impaired and I was not at the hospital for anything to do with my sight - my eye related difficulties are of another nature. This makes the test superfluous, but you don't complain do you? We all just allow ourselves to be led off and tested - our results marked down for posterity on the all important clipboard.

When they tested my eyes the second time I did start thinking, "This is a bit of a waste of your time and mine isn't it? You know what my sight is like already." I mean it's great to have someone pay attention to you just minutes after arriving, but seeing as it took me another two and half hours to get eventually seen for my five minute appointment, well it's frustrating and silly.

It was then that it hit me. Every time I go I get seen within ten minutes - even though my stay actually consists of literally hours of waiting about in a joyless waiting area. Forget the fact that I'm seen for a totally unnecessary test whose results are not even looked at by my specialist - I have been seen.

Target met.

My two and a half hours goes on the records as ten minutes - magic - and they actually employ someone to do this instead of something useful. Another great New Labour way of using important resources on pointless statistic-distorting tasks.


Dan Ashton said...

As someone who sat in a hospital waiting room for four painful hours after a 30 second, useless "consultation" straight after I hobbled into the A&E on a broken ankle (never saw that doctor again) I feel your pain.

Tim said...

Ah don't you love those free market principles in the public sector! Never underestimate the creativity of the human mind when faced with a problem. Of course the problem has been ridiculously defined in this case, but it has been solved.