Expectations, Shmexpectations

I don’t want to write a rant about the NHS falling apart, but… how can I resist?

A colleague was recently told by a manager that she needed to lower her expectations of what service she would be able to provide. Her expectations had included the ludicrous idea of having time to finish writing up a risk assessment the same day as having seen somebody with a severe mental illness, or to write up an assessment letter within a week of having met with someone asking for help. She wasn’t even asking to spend more time seeing the people she was trying to help (she wasn’t that crazy!), but just time to deal with the most basic paperwork generated by the ones she had managed to see.

It has been suggested that the secret to happiness is low expectations, as then you can’t be disappointed. Or frustrated, as I was yesterday, when it took me 2 hours to arrange an ambulance for someone. Not for the ambulance to arrive, just for it to be called out. The process involved waiting in a call queue and answering irrelevant questions to speak to a doctor through NHS Direct, only to be directed to a different GP, who then directed us to call 999. From there, we were directed to call back to NHS Direct, who then eventually told us to call 999. All in all, 2 hours worth of NHS staff ineffectively trying to talk to other NHS staff. I know it was an unusual set of circumstances we were dealing with, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was some way for one professional to communicate directly with another?

Perhaps like my colleague, my expectations need to be lowered to meet the reality we are dealing with. On the other hand… screw that! I want a better NHS and I’m prepared to fight for it, so there.

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