Friday, 1 June 2007

Bad start to June

Arrived at my Welsh moonlighting job this morning to find an envelope on my desk marked urgent. Inside was a complaint from a patient. Among the ways I had abused her she complained that I asked her to hold her breath and that I had pressed the probe against her abdomen while doing an ultrasound. She also claimed that her appointment was at 5.05 but that I had not scanned her until 5.55 even though she had turned up with an empty bladder and I had to waste almost an hour of my evening while she filled up. I just didn't know what to say and ended up replying that I didn't treat her any different to the previous 5000 patients so I suppost she will escalate it to a formal complaint now and I will never work in Wales again.
Still seething I went to start my morning list and the first patient was someone who shouldn't have been referred for a scan at all. After scanning the abdo. as asked and finding nothing I had a look at the pelvis. All the time the patient was asking what I had found and trying to get up to look at the screen (as if she would see anything on it). Finally she demanded to know why I was scanning her pelvis when her doctor had asked me to scan the kidneys. I told her it was because I was a holistic radiologist and she shut up for long enough for me to finish the scan, presumably not wanting to admit she had never heard of a holistic radiologist. But then it started again when I told her that there was nothing wrong as far as I can see. She asked why I couldn't be more definite and I told her ultrasound was an Art not a Science. Silly really and unnecessary. Patients behave strangely under stress and I should have kept my head. Now there will be two complaints on the same day. Using the legal principle of "there's no smoke without fire" I shall now be branded a callous patient abuser.

Talking of patient abuse I am getting progressively irritated by the sheer number of criminal record checks I am asked to do at around £35 a shot. Its not something people tend to complain about because "if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to fear". When they came in I thought it was a bit odd that a mass murderer could become NI education minister while someone with a collection of grimy photos, who perhaps worked in a non-clinical area, would be denied a job in the NHS for life but I accepted it as necessary to protect children in hospital from pedophiles.
Over the years the emphasis changed to asking for a CRB check to protect NHS property so this applied to everyone, even those with no contact with children. The result is that if you had done a bit of thieving in the past you would never work in the NHS. A bit harsh since many young men fall foul of the law in their youth but I suppose it leaves a few people free to follow a career in business or politics.
Now I am asked to get a CRB check for each locum agency I register with every 6 months. They are not allowed to just use the same one! My local private hospital also asks for a CRB check every 3 years even though they don't see kids. The last straw was trying to register to do teleradiology reporting from my own home. The companies are still obliged by HMG to get CRB checks. I suppose there might be someone who gets a thrill out of looking at a child's X-ray but I suspect it's a way of diverting huge amounts of money from the health sector to Nulabours political donors at Capita (Crapita according to Private Eye). Anyone for a peerage?

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