Tuesday, 4 November 2014

NHS cutbacks

I received a letter today advising that Ethan's height and weight will be measured by the school nurse soon.

It reminded me we were supposed to have an appointment with the school nurse in August.

I called the number on the letter, which was a mobile number.

The nurse who picked up said I needed to speak to someone else.  She gave me another name and mobile number.

When I got through I asked a few questions.

When were patients of the school nurse service going to be advised that the service provider had changed at the beginning of October.  I had been told all patients were to receive a letter.

I was told that the person I was speaking to had only been in role for a couple of weeks, the service was stretched and her priority had been children at risk and domestic violence cases.  She was aware that communication was overdue and would be "phoning parents as soon as she found some time".

I asked when we might expect the August appointment we had been promised.

I was taken through a consultation over the phone and offered an appointment.  I was told that the school nurse service no longer had a physical base.  Whereas previous appointments had been at a hospital this was no longer the case.  Would it be possible for the nurse to come to us?

This explained the mobile phone numbers rather than a desk phone.

I wonder whether it's efficient for a school nurse to be travelling to visit all patients or whether it's more efficient to have patients visiting the school nurse.  Is it better to have the NHS paying for travel time and associated expenses or better to use space in a hospital?  

I also wondered whether this is what happens when the NHS loses a contract.  Do NHS facilities become a chargeable item to non NHS providers?  Is this new provider avoiding using a hospital room because it costs too much.

I also wondered whether visiting a "child at risk" or victim of domestic abuse in their own home is always a good idea.  I can see that Social Services might need to see the home environment but wonder whether this is always the right thing for a school nurse.

The nurse then asked me for Ethan's details so she could find his record, and she found nothing.

Has the database been systematically wiped or is a nurse operating away from an office struggling to find a record because of a lack of infrastructure?

I'm not convinced this outsourcing is a good thing.  I'll see how we go when we have the appointment but so far it's not demonstrating an improvement over the prior caring and organised provider.

No comments: