Here’s a story about the NHS that’s very unlikely to make it into the mainstream media.
This afternoon Leftwing Idiot was taking me to our local hospital for a non-urgent appointment. I was in my regular wheelchair so he was pushing me along. We had plenty of time to get there so we weren’t rushing.
All of a sudden, on the road leading to my old lair, one of the front wheels hit a crack in the pavement and then suddenly and dramatically broke. Something similar happened once before, but that time less damage was done to the chair itself.
There wasn’t time to head back to the castle or book a cab to the hospital so we trundled on to the nearest bus stop and made our way to the appointment.
Once on the bus I called Wheelchair Services and they said they’d get someone to come out to me at the hospital. It all felt a bit hit and miss but this seemed like the best option.
I was there to see a physiotherapist who I’d not met before. In the waiting room Leftwing Idiot explained to the receptionist about the difficulties we were having with the chair so she got us a replacement for while we were waiting.
The physio was lovely and very thorough. She asked me a lot of questions about my tics and did some strange experiments involving gently rubbing my forearms with a paper napkin.
Half way through the appointment a guy turned up from Wheelchair Services and I saw him take my chair through to another room. Leftwing Idiot went and explained what’d happened and let him get on with it.
By the time my appointment had finished my chair was fully fixed and all I needed to do was transfer back into it. From start to finish this emergency repair took no more than 40 minutes – a response time that’d give the AA a run for their money.
This is precisely the type of joined-up, holistic treatment that the NHS offers patients like me. Despite the daily bashing our Health Service gets in the media it does an amazingly good job at looking after a huge range of health needs for all of us. But it’s exactly this level of excellence that’s under the greatest threat from the cuts and re-structuring that the Government’s forcing through at the moment.
Today it was my wheelchair that was experiencing mobility difficulties and it got taken care of incredibly quickly, and that meant my own mobility difficulties weren’t affected.
Many thanks to everyone who helped keep me on the move this afternoon.