March 26th, 2012

(no subject)

Today's GP wrangling plan had two items. Firstly, the routine thing of getting my progynova changed from 6mg to 5mg. This became unexpectedly complicated when the letter from the endocrinologist (who I saw on the 7th) had not yet arrived. I noted that an early endo letter also had been half-scanned. (And I didn't say about my notes having gone missing at the clinic).

This was a mistake. Now, if the GP had said "well, perhaps there's a problem at their end instead", then that would be fair enough and I could have agreed. But instead he launched in to what seemed a very well-prepared rant about how he took this as a personal affront, that the administrative staff were very efficient, that every letter that arrived got scanned immediately, and that some level of error was to be expected in any organisation. I decided not to point out that if you've come up with a rehearsed speech about how rare a particular failing is, it is not as rare as you are making out.

So, then I got the bit where I asked for a referral to a rheumatologist. I do this every so often and then they send me for a blood test and then they don't do anything. So, that happened again. This time it is my actual main priority, since the hormones stuff has been more-or-less sorted out.

The GP asked me to book a follow-up appointment with him for 3 weeks. I tried to. I was immediately told no, and that I should phone up for an emergency appointment on the day instead. This is par for the course (and by the time I had arrived at 8.55am they were already telling people on the phone who had genuine emergencies that they should go to the walk-in centre instead - I wonder how many of the people who engage in that 8.30am daily rush for appointments would have been happy with a prebooked one). What was slightly unusual was the brief denial to my face that pre-bookable appointments even existed, and I had to point out that I had in fact booked this one three weeks ago before they grudgingly looked in their computer and rustled up an appointment with another doctor on the 16th April.

So, in conclusion, this is why putting committees of GPs in charge of the NHS is a bad idea.

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This is... wrong tool

Found out about this read-your-credit-report service called Noddle, which looks quite interesting. Had a go with it. It asks me for my previous addresses during the last 5 years.

Unfortunately, it makes you enter the postcode for these and look them up in the Postcode Address File. The Postcode Address File contains data about all the valid postal addresses in the UK at the moment. It is regularly revised (perhaps not often enough) with new developments. And when stuff gets demolished, it will get deleted from the dataset.

My last-but-one-flat was so demolished. It doesn't exist in the PAF any more. Neither, as far as I can make out, does the entire postcode or anything at that street number. And so when I come to the field to enter my address in 2007-2009, the system simply won't let me.

I pointed this out to them on twitter, and they apologised, but seem to have missed the point a bit. They say

we use it [the Postcode Address File] in order to ensure that addresses entered are current and valid.


But they're asking for historic data, not current data! This isn't the first time I've seen websites make this mistake. Most of you won't have come across this problem, as demolition of residential accommodation is fairly rare, so it doesn't look like there'll be mass consumer pressure to get them to fix it. But if you care about systems being correct, this might annoy you anyway.

There's another post brewing about the misuse of postcode areas as if they were some kind of useful geographic system, but that's another matter.

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