Yesterday My wife had an out-patient appointment for 11.45. She was seen two hours later. During our wait in a crowded room, with children getting distressed, we pondered on the reason for the delay. Perhaps one of the doctors had yet to arrive, or another was off sick at short notice?
Only when we went in to see the consultant (who was equally frustrated by the situation) did we find out from her that the reason for the problem was the new IT system. It involves the consultant having to input quite sophisticated notes at the end of the appointment – instead of e.g. using a voice recorder for a few minutes and that being typed up by a secretary later.
This new ‘paperless’ treatment of information may in itself create a better record, but it doubles the time of a consultation. Yet patients are still being given appointments as if the former time-scale applied. Hence a growing backlog, frayed tempers and lunch for the long-suffering staff at about tea-time!
This can’t go on…