DL Neil GLLUG at GetAroundToIt.co.uk
Sun Oct 19 22:05:30 UTC 2014


>> Can we return to the original topic.   I asserted that faxes are

Agreed the thread has wondered-off from your original topic, but how
often does that happen here?

>> useful for communicate with doctors etc when I am dealing with a
>> chronically ill parent and living 1.5 hours journey away.  If you know
>> the right person to talk to telephone is best, but GPs are hard to get
>> hold of. Receptionist often don't feel able to talk to you.
>> One clinic was great at communicating by email - not detailed medical
>> stuff but just the practicalities of appointments.

So the medical profession are 'ordinary people' with various preferences
for communications channels, with the added consideration of privacy and
 professional 'standards'...

When YOU asked THE MD, what channel-preferences did (s)he express?
Working WITH people is more likely to succeed than telling them how YOU
want them to work with YOU!
(that's not telling you anything new, but your concern for your mother
has greater import in your mind)

>> I am not in a position to recommend whether Fax, email, post, carrier
>> pigeons is more or less secure and which the NHS should use. Just I am
>> trying to  do the best I can for relatives with at least pain in short
>> term.

You are expressing surprise that technical people have found a technical
angle to discuss? To be fair, this IS a technical forum, not a medical
one for discussing what is a social problem...

>> If MI5/6 or NSA want to intercept my appointment dates I am not too
>> concerned.

If they then pass that on to third parties (for which they stand
accused) or use it against you (in ways the politicians will/do say they
did not anticipate), then...

> When I was incapacitated a few years ago, both my Wife and my Father has
> no issue whatsoever in getting to talk to my GP.  In some instances,
> they would be asked to call back at a pre-arranged time, when my GP was
> between patients or between clinics.  In all cases they were treated
> with polite, helpful respect and my GP provided excellent support.

Note how the pre-arranged agreement works!

> If any aspect of the service from the GP dealing with your parent is any
> less than perfect you should consider writing (in the first instance) a
> registered letter to the GP - with a copy to the Local Health Authority
> - detailing your dissatisfaction with the GP and explaining that you're
> doing this on behalf of your infirm parent.

When 'disappearing' on overseas assignments, registering with embassies,
being caught-up in wars, and such-like; I had 'traditionally' thought of
'health concerns' being who my next-of-kin (in such contexts usually
someone not in-country) would be. Parents obviously spring to mind.
However as they age, WE need to reverse that view, and it is quite an
adjustment of mind!

To ensure that people will talk with YOU about your Mother's private
matters, organise with her NOW*, to be appointed as her (health) legal
representative. Apologies but I have forgotten the UK terminology. I
have two "Powers of Attorney" for my aged Mother, one is for health
matters should she be unable to make decisions for herself, eg
unconscious, and the other financial/business.

* not the same as a Will, but "being of sound mind" is a critical
component at the time of signing such legal instruments!

My wife has the same for her mother who suffers from Alzheimer's and yet
looks and sounds reasonably 'normal' at first sight. Even-so, or perhaps
because of that, it can indeed be a hassle 'persuading' medical staff to
communicate. So the CO has taken to carrying a physical copy in her
briefcase, duplicating all the others lodged* with GPs, local hospitals,
nursing home, ... in case she needs to settle any disquiet before
achieving the necessary.

* irony: many of them 'file' their copies electronically. Bad news: just
because they are 'on system' doesn't mean staff can find them, and if
they do, that they have taken the time to (first) look!

> This usually elicits a form reply from the LHA and a scribbled note of
> apology from the GP.  However, you should find that things change
> radically - you will be treated quite differently by the receptionists
> and by the GP, with return phone calls at times convenient to you,
> medical details discussed openly with you and your advice sought on the
> best options for your parent.
> This is probably the only instance in which it pays to complain to the NHS!

I didn't get quite that far.

Moving overseas (as may have mentioned at the time, to support the above
- just didn't realise it would be for so long...), and NOT thinking
about it before-hand, extracting a copy of our records from the GP in
London proved a major trial. Hardly a surprise when I think about it,
given the evidence of their particularly slap-dash office staff - and
later, reading what others had to say on some 'GP-evaluation/criticism'
web site I once blundered into.

In our case, letters, faxes, phone calls,... all resulted in nothing
more than vague and unsubstantiated promises - and these are MY records.
It didn't matter if the new MD requested or we personally.

In the end I followed a similar 'blizzard' approach to the above, me
sending snail-mail, MD sending faxes, me emailing a copy to a friend,
and posting her a physical copy, ALL the same, and ALL authorising an
"attack dog"* to physically uplift the records for onward transmission.

* an engineer (but very presentable person for all that!) who like most
IT people, has a low tolerance for bureaucratic meanderings and

Per the above advice, I mentioned that if they were still unprepared to
cooperate, or provide an agreed method/channel, the "attack dog" was (as
they could read) authorised (and determined) to approach the NHS

All-up it ONLY took a shade over four years! So I do sympathise with
your situation, if also wandering-off on (technical) tangents...

In conversation with various medicos (here) over the years as part of
our odyssey of aged-support, one of the matters which truly depresses
them is the number of older folk who arrive for care (sometimes through
downright neglect as distinct from active offense) and for whom no-one
appears to personally care. Also those who purport to care by phoning
and hectoring staff - but who never actually show-up/spend TIME.
Consequently, once the niceties (legal and social) are established,
experience show such staff to be prepared to be as helpful as their work
allows, and perhaps more-so in offering suggestions and ideas way beyond
the "take one and...".

Again, it is all in the preparation - and personal 'connection' (GP,
receptionist, practice nurse, ...) will yield future dividends!

It's been said before: technological solutions can't 'fix' social

It's exactly what you want, but perhaps you need to improve
self-presentation, to convey yourself as someone working-with and
supporting the care and efforts of such (equally busy as us) medical
professionals, with the unselfish aim of promoting the best for your mother?

(it's definitely not easy, so here's a "good on ya" for doing so!)


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