Is it really more than two years since I last had a blood test? I set off at a dark and snowy hour (first of this winter in London) for my blood test at Dulwich Community Hospital. I got half way on my two bus journey and realised I had left the test form at home. Returned home (still snowing); arrived hospital 08.15am cursing and wondering how long the queue would be. The last time I had done this in May 2010, I spent over four hours on three separate visits to try and get my blood taken. This was duly written up as a Phlebotomy Phiasco.
Fore-warned and fore-armed
The piece was posted on our site and I also put an edited version on Patient Opinion – not a squeak in response from Kings or anyone else. The Patient Opinion piece two years on remains unread. So with my last experience in mind and with zero expectation that anything would have changed, I remembered to pack everything – large 400 page book, today’s paper, the test form and prepared myself for a long stay – even longer now I thought since my false start meant arriving after opening time – stand-by for a three hour queue.
So I thought but guess what? In at 08.15, got my number with less than 10 in front of me according to the ticket number screen. The waiting room was freshly painted, some of the seats were new and Dickens would not have recognised the fine old Community Hospital – no longer qualifying for the adjective he bequeathed to us. Big tick for service improvement and great satisfaction – nothing beats expectations being exceeded (the lower they are to start with the better). Now I have experienced the possibility of improved service, will I turn up the next time at a reasonable hour in the day with no book and be ambushed by a service that has recycled back into failure? That may be one of the factors that tip users into action – they have had a glimpse of a future where the basic service processes are done well, have been upgraded by healthcare providers. To have that bright vision of service withdrawn creates anger and disappointment – let us hope that managers remain committed to improvement and do not play it safe, not raising expectations and staying with service old style, leaving the low expectations in place.
The snow had stopped.