I do love the NHS, but just sometimes…

I feel like I’m constantly in a battle!

My last growth scan was at 23 weeks. I’m now 27.4 weeks as of this morning and am struggling with my hospital to get my routine 28 week scan booked in.

Rewind… It all started nearly 5 weeks ago my 23 weeks appointment. It was a bit of a farce. Normally, Birmingham Women’s Hospital have been amazing. I couldn’t fault them during my pregnancy with my oldest child and even the early stages of this pregnancy they really got a move on to get my medications changed to baby friendly ones, get me scanned and under various consultants, nurse specialist and midwife care.

At 23 weeks everything seemed to come off the rails!

It was 21st December, my scan was at 2 pm…and then we waited. And waited…. and waited. The clinic just came to a standstill. There were so many women waiting to be seen that all the chairs were full and pregnant ladies were sat on the floor. It was complete chaos. After two hours people were getting a little irate – and rightly so. We had no info as to what was going on and the tiny room was getting stuffier and stuffier. And we were uncomfortable! I mean come on – we’re pregnant! School style plastic chairs aren’t comfy as a teen, much less so when you’re decades older and your bump resembles a football!

2.5 hours in and a nurse comes out to tell us they are trying to get extra doctors down to clinic (rumour has it that the doctors haven’t turned up, maybe due to emergencies on the wards, although likely it was a staffing issue). So it’s now 4.30 and no one has been seen in the clinic by a doctor. I become very aware we could be hours as there are so many people waiting and I’ve got my 4 year old child with me, who is going to need tea very soon.

By 4.45 I decide enough is enough, I’m going home! We’ve had a date night planned for weeks (we last went out as a couple in July, how rubbish are we? And my son is so excited for his second sleep over at granma’s). I go to the scary office where the shouty nurse resides and knock the door to inform them of my decision. It suddenly becomes a flurry of activity. Within 10 minutes a doctor has reviewed my notes (where he had come from, I’ve no idea), I’ve been given a form to book my 28 week scan and off I trot. Relief.

Oh, but hang on a minute. It’s never that simple is it?

We get to the scanning department to book my next appointment. Problem. The clinic is blocked. Not too worry, the form is handed over and we are informed that it will be booked once the clinic is unblocked and I’ll receive a letter through the post.

Only I didn’t.

Two weeks and no sign of the appointment, so I get on the phone and start the ridiculous round of calls. I wasn’t sure who I needed to speak with, so rang switch board. They transferred me to Health Records. Health Records decided that I needed to speak with the scan department, so transferred my call. The scan department still couldn’t access the clinic as it was showing as blocked on their system. I’d now been on the phone 20 minutes and had got nowhere further. The lady said she had sent the appointment slips to the consultants secretary, so would transfer me directly to her as she would be able to unblock the clinic slots.

The secretary was not happy. She told me I had been given incorrect information…

Well, blow me down, if I didn’t have a little bit of a paddy at this point in the phone call.

We agreed she would ring me back Monday (it was now Friday afternoon and the consultant was unavailable for the rest of the day).

Guess what didn’t happen?

Tuesday I rang the secretary direct. The consultant hadn’t been in to the office, so my notes hadn’t been seen. She would make sure my notes got priority and ring me before the end of the week. Which didn’t happen.

To cut a long, repetitive story short, I went on to ring two or three times a week, not getting anywhere. Then today, ta-dah, on the 25th January, I got an appointment! I will be going for my 28 week scan on the 1st February! Relief.

If you know me, you know this is all very tongue in cheek – I am used to hospital appointments and really value the NHS. I am also prepared for a long clinic. I’m always there at least 2.5 to 3 hours as I have to be seen by so many departments (scan first, then obstetrician, various clinical support staff for the obs like weight/ bloods etc, and possibly my haematologist or one of the team and pharmacy), but it’s my sons first disco that evening, so hope I’m home in time to see him go to that. I’ll let you know how we get on.

Edit
I just got home from the school run and guess what the postman delivered? Yup – 2 appointment letters. One from neurologist bringing forwards my appointment from May to next week and one about my scan. Ha!

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