What’s the answer? More admin staff?

By | February 1, 2013

I cannot knock the good work that the front-line NHS staff do, under extreme budget constraints and they are life-savers basically.

What I am going to have a minor moment about today is the back room administration, or lack of it.

D was diagnosed at a paediatric centre some (blimey) 4 years ago. We had a doctor there, a point of contact, a name. She (the doctor) left a couple of years ago and since then D is a “floating patient”, “an ex-(area) patient”. No-one wants to take ownership for her.

This makes things difficult in terms of follow-up appointments (11 month wait last year), instances when there is a referral from GP and no-one responds and issues when it comes to medication requests (which are made every three months).

Take last week for example, I have learned not to request meds when we are nearly out, I phone when we have three weeks supply left.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday…left message on answer-phone. Thursday I got through to someone “oooh, you were next on my list”. Really? Request made and along with that, a request that I pick up the prescription and it not be sent to the hospital pharmacy. Even though the pharmacy is (literally) 5 minutes walk away, it takes up to FIVE working days for the pharmacy to receive the prescription in the internal mail.

I thought she’d agreed and taken this on board but….you’ve guessed it, when I got through to someone yesterday, it’s gone off in the internal post to the pharmacy.

So..I’m waiting and hoping that the prescription doesn’t get lost in the internal post (it has before) and that maybe I’ll be picking up her meds next week, or the week after.

Oh, I don’t know. I know it can’t be easy working under constraints and probably increasing patient numbers under decreasing staff but a) returning a call when there’s a message left and b) actually listening to a parents request which would potentially save time.

And yes, I did work in an office before (PA) so I know how busy life is but..lists! Lists were always the answer.

Rant over (I think), until I have to do it all again in another 3 months.


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Anita on 1st February 2013 at 10:39 am.

I don’t know the answer but we have the same problem here with the hospital pharmacy!! If you ahve to physically take the prescription you wait over 2 hours!!! It still takes a week for an electronically ordered prescription to be ready to pick up!!

Oh, and then there is the 7 week wait for a report from a 24 eeg to be written!!!!!



Deb on 1st February 2013 at 10:49 am.

They need us J (I was also a PA in my old life). I’ve had similar problems with CAMHS; wrong prescriptions; appointments made but no letter sent; noone answering the telephone etc etc. The worst was when they moved building but didn’t change the website (ie no contact details) and didn’t change the telephone no. As I needed a repeat prescription I got into a bit of panic as there was no way I could get in contact. I then rang the NHS trust but the dopey receptionist knew nothing about the move and didn’t think to find out for me. In frustration I gave up with her and my husband had to take time out of work to drive over to the new place to pick up my sons prescription. I understand that our NHS are under severe pressure but decent admin support is essential in providing a decent service. Without it it undermines the clinical work. Rant over. Deb x


Karen on 1st February 2013 at 11:23 am.

This sounds SO familiar! We live over 40 miles from the hospital that dispenses meds for our daughter (and our son come to think of it) and I have to make sure we have a minimum of a fortnight’s stock when making a repeat request. Even then sometimes it’s not worked and we’ve been left for a night without anything. How hard can it be to fill in forms, especially these days when so much can be done electronically? Must be Rant Friday! K x


AutismMumma on 1st February 2013 at 1:03 pm.

It’s all very aaaargh! Agreed!


AutismMumma on 1st February 2013 at 1:06 pm.

Nodding away reading your comments Deb. Like you say, because we know how it should be done, it’s more frustrating. Wish there was an immediate solution but I think it will get worse before it gets any better.
It’s a shame as we’ve had such positive dealings with the frontline staff – both Hubbie and I, with both our mothers – but, behind the scenes it’s not so good x


AutismMumma on 1st February 2013 at 1:07 pm.

Definitely agree…Rant Friday. I did feel kind-of-bad putting together my rant but…xx


redpeffer on 1st February 2013 at 1:37 pm.

Having worked in the NHS in more of an admin role, I can totally see how these things happen-it’s the usual story of lack of communication either within departments or between departments/organisations. I’ve experienced it on both sides and it is SO frustrating. Just keep plugging away-I know that’s a bit depressing, but it works, eventually.


Jaime Oliver on 1st February 2013 at 4:31 pm.

I was one of those people and i am making no excuses for the lack of common courtesy thats out of order! I always made lists and frequently worked through my breaks and lunch…. i think its more like lack of work ethic

Hope you get the prescription soon


thenotsomightyom on 2nd February 2013 at 6:19 am.

It’s a given thing that Admin Tasks are not difficult(hence not well paid).Motivation.Not seeing People( the Public Sector now use the Word Clients) as Numbers is important. I never let anyone treat me like a Statistic.Getting someone’s name is usually a Good Motivator, though call centres are notorious for giving out false ones.Once spoke to a Michelle Jackson, it wasn’t her real name. I am a demon if I get a sniff of lethargy and let’s face it if you’re in the Health Service you should be motivated to “care”. Not just collect your pay cheque. I doubt if more admin staff is the answer just better motivated ones.


AutismMumma on 5th February 2013 at 11:26 am.

Thanks 🙂


AutismMumma on 5th February 2013 at 11:34 am.

Think you’re right there, if you’re not motivated it’s a difficult situation to get out of.


AutismMumma on 5th February 2013 at 11:39 am.

Thanks, hmmmm. Picked up yesterday and for half the amount so the phone calls have started again!


Jaime Oliver on 5th February 2013 at 12:00 pm.

nightmare!! sending hugs my lovely and hope you get it sorted soon x


AutismMumma on 6th February 2013 at 3:47 pm.

Thanks! I hope so too x


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