I believe “The Patient as Parcel” is a quote but I haven’t been able to trace its origin.
I feel quite like a parcel because while the National Health Service is obviously looking after me, it never explains what’s going on. The system must have some kind of collective intelligence that knows where it might be sending me, and why, but I the Patient (or Parcel) haven’t been given any clues.
Every week or so I get a Private & confidential letter (“This is not a circular – there is important information inside”) telling me about an appointment but unless it is self-explanatory (say for a CT scan) I can’t tell what the appointment is for.
The latest is for The Low Visual Aid Clinic. Since my stroke I’m visually impaired, so I have low vision, which I understand.
But what’s the appointment for? To measure the extent of my low vision? To check if my condition has changed? To discuss visual aids for low vision? To give advice? Or some combination of these? Something I’ve not thought of? I have absolutely no idea.
I find this really odd. When I go to the dentist (for example) they explain what’s going to happen and the course of treatment. But here I just feel in the dark all the time.
I’m treated with great kindness, professionalism and consideration at every point of contact with the system, and this is not a complaint. But why on earth isn’t it explained to me what is happening? I find this bewildering. Why is a caring system so incapable of explaining itself to those it cares for?