Time to put people before numbers
Ashford’s “inadequate” William Harvey Hospital has come under fire again, this time for cancelling appointments. A Freedom of Information request revealed 120,746 appointments were axed in three years – that’s 13.34% of all those booked.
This revelation comes weeks after a Care Quality Commission report slammed the hospital, rating A&E, surgery and children’s care as sub-standard. Cancelled appointments are at the least frustrating, at worst life-threatening.
Having to arrange and re-arrange time off work, childcare and other commitments is annoying. But imagine if, like the patient in our story on page 29, you are suffering from a potentially fatal condition and those appointments are to monitor your condition, tweak your medication and, basically, keep you alive. But who is to blame for the poor service? Certainly not the professional, caring frontline staff. Perhaps, like those high up in the education system, management is making it harder for those frontline staff to do their jobs by focussing on numbers rather than people.
Our featured patient, Stuart Barton, who has the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, says: “Mr X and Mrs Y are no longer individuals, they are just data on a list.”
Perhaps he has a point.