Not a criticism, we’re all doing our best, it's no one person's fault, we all want to give a good service. Just a tired reflection on how it is on the ‘backline’ some days ‘cos it’s good to get the frustration out in a way that might raise a smile – stops it festering and becoming something else!
Rose Road: Hi – I’d like to book a precautionary COVID test for a day services staff member please?
119: Sure – where are you located?
Rose Road: Southampton.
119: Sure - we can offer you – let’s see, oh no hang on we can get you closer than that, yep, here we go – Cardiff.
Rose Road: Cardiff?!
119: Yep – A week on Tuesday..
Rose Road: Oh hang on, sorry, am I meant to give you the access code that proves we are front line priority care workers? Sorry, here it is.
119: Oh sure. Yep. Here we go, let me enter that into the system, yep, that’ll be Cardiff ….and….Tuesday week.
Rose Road: Right. OK. I’ll use our portal courier care home test kit instead.
119: You can’t do that, it’s for people with dementia and over the age of 65 only.
Rose Road: Nope – that changed nine days ago – it’s now also for LD homes. That’s why I have 100 kits sat in the office.
119: Well you still can’t use them, they’re for your care home not your day service.
Rose Road: Tough. Beyond caring.
Rose Road: (opening care home test kit and looking for the courier number) WHAT? Randox EV4429?! – these have just been recalled. (cue frantic packing and quarantining of kits and returning via courier)
Rose Road: (on phone) Hi there emergency community testing response team – you remember you said you could get me an urgent same-day test if we needed it – we need it – please can we book one for today?
Test Team: Yep sure. That’ll be Thursday then.
Rose Road: But today’s Monday.
Test Team: Yes it is. Anything else we can help you with?
Like I say – really no one person’s fault. No-one can steer a pandemic. No-one can truly anticipate with absolute certainty where it will go next.
We must have measures in place to help prevent the spread to the most vulnerable.
And we must follow the guidelines.
No point saying – well the toothy peckish lion MIGHT NOT go that way, he PROBABLY WON’T he DIDN’T LAST WEDNESDAY – off you go and have and have a little wander then with your lunch box in your hand…..good luck!
And while I am at it - let’s be clear, the guidelines are established by people who spend all day, every day, and much of the night as well, tracking, tracing, learning, unpicking the epidemiology. People who have spent their lives in public health, people who have teams of other people to crunch numbers, follow statistical curves, explore historic patterns, extrapolate trends and run into offices waving post-its and sounding the alert when things begin to look more menacing.
I do not know better than them on this particular subject.
And I distrust quite a few people who say that they do know better. I have asked a few of them what their public health qualifications are. I have asked them if they have read the SAGE and NERVATG minutes.
Strangely I have not yet heard one of them say that they have a degree in Public Health or would even know where to find those aforementioned, publicly available, minutes.
Worth noting that I am fast running out of friends!
Oooooo, I am grumpy today – sorry!!!
So in summary – I don’t like the guidance any more than anyone else. I am as frustrated with process as anyone else.
But I could not do any better and so I, as sure as eggs is eggs, will not be standing in judgement on those who try and keep us safe. If I really believe I have a better way – you will be the first to know…..