Blogpost: The Good Doctor looks at Audo and the NHS

Blogpost: The Good Doctor asks….

What do "issues", Audi, and "escalation" have in common with the NHS

WE all find certain words irritating. Both Carol and I find the word issues pronounced with an "S", as opposed to an "sh" sound, really irritating. It smacks of insincerity. Yes, admittedly, we sound totally irrational. But that’s how we feel.

Another word with a similar irritating impact is "escalation". It is such management drivel, that really sets my blood boiling. My patients are well familiar with the tardiness of NHS property services (my tenants) in signing a lease with me, which has delayed Carol and my retirement by at least three years. During the three years of intensive chasing, I grew accustomed to the increasing use of the word "escalate" by NHS management. "We shall escalae" a typical response would be, when all they had to do is reach for a pen and sign the blooming lease. So Carol and I have become allergic to the word "escalate".

Many of my patients and I share the love of cars as pieces of art. So many of you have made comments about my Audi. But my relatively new Audi has had a factory fault. Its dapper air conditioning has failed twice. The first time, I had to take half a day off work to take it to the garage and fetch it back. Audi would charge me for a courtesy car, though they rightly waved the fee on further consideration. They would offer me the smallest car in the range when mine is the biggest. I went along with it. However the same fault has recurred. I have relatives coming to stay and I was looking forward to showing them our great country in a comfortable car. However, the air conditioning has failed again and in this muggy weather, it would be more like purgatory than pleasure to sit them in my Audi.

This time Audi have offered to look at my car within 12 days, and if I wanted a courtesy car, I would have to wait 18 days. I made the point that I paid for a new car and if it is faulty they should replace my car with a similar car until it is fixed. I have wasted half a day trying to persuade Audi to see sense. But all they could say was that they had no cars available. I advised they could rent one, as did Jaguar when my XJ broke down. I spoke to the dealership, to Audi Finance, and to Audi UK, to no avail. Audi UK barely admitted that I deserve a replacement car. But they kept saying no car was available and kept ignoring the point that they could hire such a car. Then I asked Audi UK for their protocol. "What should Audi do when a new Audi under warranty breaks down?". I was fobbed off with a few nonsensical answers. Audi UK actually claimed they had no access to their own protocols! Then as if deliberately to get my goat, they said " We escalate". That was a bad move; bad for me that is. I was furious telling Audi UK "I work for the NHS and this weasel word irritates me no end, because it means you will just send me on a merry-go-round and exhaust me. Tell me when you will supply me with a replacement car, Like for like". I have never needed an antihistamine so badly. Audi UK kept repeating their promise to "escalate" and my skin got creepier and creepier. Unpleasant memories of the 3 years of NHS "escalation" leading to the great achievement of signing a lease, came back to haunt me. I told my dealer that I would never buy an Audi again, and that I would not recommend them to anyone I know. Their refusal and failure to deal with my point; their avoidance of the subject, and obfuscation of the argument have revealed an arrogance that deserves to be punished by withdrawal of custom.

Here is another link with the HHS. Working conditions for health care professionals have been getting more dire by the week. The NHS will do anything but not improve working conditions. They drain medical centres by imposing heavy inspection fees, which report lack of staff, when we could have told the NHS the same for free. Strangely yesterday I received a Facebook message from a university friend, who like many other friends studied medicine in the UK and now lives and works in Australia. Why? Because the NHS is deaf to its servants. Just as I am voting with my feet and withdrawing my custom from arrogant and deaf Audi, many of my friends and trainees have voted with their feet, left the arrogant and deaf NHS and gone to work abroad.

So for goodness sake, do not say "issues" (say Ishews), do not escalate (do something concrete and helpful) and do buy British cars. At least you know you are helping our economy and therefore the NHS, who will one day hopefully improve working conditions for doctors, and offer the public better access to better care. The EU "remainers" are continuing to spread their stories of doom and gloom, talking the British economy down, adversely affecting confidence in the Britain. Britannia has rarely needed her citizens more. And, please, do not mention the word "escalate" or else you are off my list.

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