A local health “trust” running three hospitals is fixing a problem dating back 6 years. A backlog of 22,000 “follow-up letters” not sent to those patients’ own doctors. In fixing the “computer error” (dating back six whole years) 11,000 letters (not sent) have been reviewed and (would have) stated no follow-up care was required. Which still leaves a lot that may have required follow-up care. Why those doctors’ surgeries failed to notice the missing letters is not mentioned. Whether any patients queried had their doctor been notified is also not mentioned. And nor is the definition of a “computer error” lasting six whole years even explained.
But what caught my eye was this – the “apology” from the chief executive of the trust:
“We regret this means some patients may not have received the follow-up care they should have. We are working closely with our primary care colleagues and partner health organisations to urgently review the individual cases of these patients and to ensure, where appropriate, patients receive the necessary follow-up care quickly.”
(my smart phone has the piece, but my desk-top does not – same BBC website – same reporting)
The industry of health is massive. Everything from a simple blood-test to major surgery. From a prescription of short course antibiotics to long-term daily medication. From the monthly intervention of ceasing babies to the hope-filled intervention of creating babies. From “routine” operations to “groundbreaking” operations. From a few headache tablets – to drugs so expensive they are deemed “inappropriate” to make generally available.
“primary care colleagues … partner health organisations … these patients … where appropriate … “
Any industry loses sight of the individual. Any industry measures cost v benefit. Any industry does not become an industry unless it does. Employees of any industry take their cue from the top. And we all prefer not to know too much about the healthcare industry – not really – our lives depend on it.
Yet just two people create life. And despite that – an “at risk” register (of industrial scale) exists.
We have become casual of life. Not only at an industrial scale – often at an individual name-by-name, life-by-life, one-at-a-time scale as well.
Maybe that is because my “right to life” is so much more than “my right” to life.
Maybe because “my right” is to my “consumer right to life”. On an earth of finite resources against a consumer “right” of infinite entitlement.
Maybe we have lost track of what “right to life” really means. Maybe we have lost track of “life”. Maybe staying alive is no longer about “staying alive”. Maybe staying alive is about my entitlement to everything.
I have no objection to health-care.
I have no objection to religion.
Both began as movements. Both are now industries.
My objection is with the evolution of entitlement. On an “industry” and on us. An evolution of mindset. Of language. Of customers … clients … colleagues … partner organisations … and “appropriate” … and the impact that has on life, love and kindness.
My objection is to the “industry of” church