I was doing a bit of reading on the web the other day when I saw a banner advert offering a click, which would get you an appointment. On the face of it this is a wonderful technological break through. Making an appointment with your Doctor whilst surfing the web. Wonderful. Great. Super.
I don’t know how your Doctors Surgery works but mine operates a simple system. Telephone them from 8:00 am onwards and if you win the call lottery you might, if you are early enough, actually get an appointment for that day. You can’t book in advance or invoke the “but I work during your opening hours” grovel. This can mean you have to phone back each morning over several days to get an appointment unless you are so ill the Doc has to visit you. To be fair though, you can have a telephone appointment when your Doc will call you at a predetermined time and you can discuss your ailment with them. They can’t see what you are describing but they are doctors after all and they know stuff so it’ll all be okay.
Obviously, however, the reason for the improved access was not for that purpose at all. Oh no, it was as a means of making an appointment to donate blood. Now there is nothing wrong with that apart from it being a wee bit one sided? When the NHS wants you to do something for them they will facilitate that for you when you want to see them? Well maybe, but only when it suits the NHS. Plan your illness well in advance is key.
I used to donate blood and then I read a leaflet following donating whilst drinking a sweet coffee and eating a nice chocolate biscuit. It appears they can also set aside the nutritional handcuffs when the NHS needs you to do something for them also. The leaflet suggested that I might also like to consider being a platelet donor and go on the bone marrow donor register. Later that day I telephoned the number and was given an appointment to be “assessed”.
I went to the Blood Donation Centre in Glasgow as it was my nearest one at the time. A nurse spoke with me and asked hard questions about smoking, drinking and taking drugs to which I said no. Then she took a sample of blood. A Doctor came and spoke to me about family health history and all that sort of stuff. Then they said I could donate platelets as my count was high enough and I met the criteria. Now I still don’t remember meeting Criteria but if the Doc said I had I wasn’t going to argue. Sorry pretty poor joke. They showed me a machine I’d be attached too and I spoke with an existing platelet donor. I was up for it and left with an appointment to go back the following week
I went back as required and was connected up to s sort of spin dryer type of machine which sooked your blood out your arm. The blood was swirled around pipes and the platelets were separated out into a bag like a blood donation bag and then your de-plateleted blood was returned to your body. There were drinks and a nice wee cake for after the donation and I did that every two to three weeks for almost three years.
I’d recommend you give it some consideration. Your platelets go to people on chemo, both adults and babies if you have the right blood or platelet profile. It was time consuming and a couple of times it made me a bit ill. The process can be a bit dehydrating and I didn’t drink enough water during the process. My fault.
The blood place moved nearer to the train station and the staff were always very grateful to get platelets although at time it did feel like they wanted as much as you could give. This is understandable since very ill people rely on the platelet donations.
It’s a pity that GPs have become less accessible. Maybe that causes more people to go to A&E? Maybe it stops people going for medical help all together? Scottish men never go to the doctors unless a bit has fallen off or has swollen to a size, which is no longer practical for normal mobility. Rennies fix chest pains. Whatever it is will go away in a minute. We’re never ill, apart from man flu obviously. It’s all William Wallace’s fault but I digress.
So next time you see a banner ad on a website with a tempting message from the NHS click on it and go on to donate blood. Maybe you’d like to donate platelets and go on the bone marrow register? Give it a go. Click on!
Just don’t expect to easily get an appointment with your GP though.