Way back on the 27th of November I wrote about my eyes and that I was in the pipeline to have my cataracts removed. It was not too long after that appointment that I received a letter from the NHS to report to the Cataract Clinic for an assessment. This appointment was at the end of January. It's been an interesting NHS experience.
The Eye surgeon that I saw on this appointment agreed that it was time to have the cataracts removed. He then asked me where I wanted to have the surgery done. I was rather flummoxed by this question because I had not idea that I had a choice about 'where' nor did I have any idea where the 'where's' were, let alone which one to choose. So I asked, didn't they do the surgery. Oh, yes, they did and he named a hospital about 10 miles away where this surgery was done. I said I would have it done there.
After speaking to him, I was then seen by a nurse who went through details of the procedure and said I would be hearing from them with an appointment for the first operation. The second eye would be done about 6 weeks after the first. Throughout February and most of March I heard nothing. I hadn't expected the wait to be so long...
Because of the impending operations, I had told many people that I would not be able to promise to do this or that in case the hospital wanted me for the 'laser'! One day after church, a friend approached me and said she understood I was not available to work on the Art Exhibition this year. I explained to her that I couldn't make a definite commitment, but that if I could be there I would be. My friend was a former head-mistress. She looked at me sternly and said,
"Where are you having the operation?"
I told her.
A pained look crossed over her face. "You don't want to have it done there... I had mine done at Drayton House. They are wonderful." She then proceeded to parade me around the parish centre meeting all the people in the congregation that had had their eyes done at Drayton House! They all agree that the named hospital was a terrible place to go!
Not only was the hospital several miles away, but Drayton House was walking distance from where I live. So I had a good excuse when I called the Clinic to explain that I wanted them to refer me to Drayton House instead. I was astonished to learn that there were several other places where I could have this work done -- all private clinics/hospitals -- all paid by the NHS! I asked to be referred to Drayton house. This was on the 2nd of April. On the 16th of April I had an appointment at Drayton House for Monday 13th May.
I went for my appointment this past Monday and by the time I left had an appointment for my first operation on the 10th of June! The second operation should be done about two weeks later instead of the usual 6 weeks because one eye will have near perfect vision and the discrepancy would make it very difficult with me to balance my eyes out.
There has been a lot in the news of late about the NHS farming out work to the private sector. The pros and cons of this have caused quite a debate. I don't quite understand all the ins and outs of this debate. I expect it has to do with money and with whether or not the doctors are NHS doctors getting paid as private doctors. It would seem that the private clinics around here have a much better reputation that the NHS hospital. I never got a date from the NHS when I was on their list -- over two months. Within two months of being referred to Drayton house I will have had my surgery.
As for the Art Exhibition -- I'll be working on that from the 7th-9th of June!