There is no point to this blog post. It is not a call to action or a demand that policy makers do stuff to make life for parents easier. It is simply a tale of how I struggled to get my daughter some basic medical treatment when she caught conjunctivitis.
Crucially, it is not a criticism of the National Health Service (NHS). I can hardly blame the NHS for the blocked roads or lost parking ticket that complicated matters.
So what happened? Well, having picked up my eldest daughter from school, I then picked up my youngest daughter from nursery to find yellow puss had just started pouring from her eyes.
It was clearly conjunctivitis and we all know the rules; your child cannot return until he/she is receiving treatment for the condition. It was almost 4pm and it what was one of those occasions where Elizabeth had to go to nursery the next day. My wife couldn’t help as she was at work and would remain there until about six that evening.
I immediately called the GP. Ever sympathetic to my plight (sense the sarcasm), the earliest the receptionist would give me an appointment was well into the next morning. My next move was to call every pharmacist I could think of with a pulse. None of them would entertain the idea of assisting me without a prescription on account of my daughter’s age.
There was a hospital a couple of miles north of me that I knew took children. Getting there, however, would be impossible because the road to it was flooded. One of the pharmacists reminded me of another nearby hospital with a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU). Loaded down with both kids, I dashed straight to it.
Alas, the receptionist kicked us out instantly. The MIU did not treat anyone under the age of 18. This meant one thing; travelling to a nearby teaching hospital. I knew this one could treat children and so off we went.
By now the kids were getting restless. We’d wasted the best part of an hour and a half and it wasn’t that long until Elizabeth’s bed time. All was going well, we were within a couple of miles of the hospital when we hit upon another snag. This road was also closed, almost certainly due to flooding.
Thank goodness for sat navs. It took us to our destination, although it took much longer than it should have done.
We arrived at the hospital and I got Elizabeth checked in. The three of us were sent through to the paediatric A&E. It was heaving with one family dominating the whole place, their three boys, shall we say, in an excitable mood. This is not what I needed.
By now it was Elizabeth’s bed time so she was now grumpy. I hadn’t been expecting any of this so I had no nappies or milk. Big sister was not happy either. After half an hour and having been told by two incredibly young members of the medical team we faced a “very long” wait, I discharged Elizabeth and we left.
I got as far as the car park. I’d lost the car parking ticket. By this point I was having a sense of humour failure. We had to wait for the car parking attendant to let us out. Thankfully he was a good guy and didn’t charge me.
When we got home, my wife was waiting for us. She took big sister off my hands and I got baby ready for bed and gave her milk. This time I returned to hospital and baby comfortably slept in her push chair for two hours while we waited to see a practice nurse.
I was given sensible medical advice but after all of that, was not issued with a prescription. Common sense dictates the advice I was given shall not be made public, suffice it so say it was a tad unorthodox and worked.
We returned home at 10.30pm. There endeth my story. Anyone relate to this?