A friend recently tried to have a Doppler scan and tissue viability assessment in the community rather than in the hospital.
Sounded sensible – just around the corner.
But the saying is there is no such thing as a free lunch. And in this case it seemed there was no such thing as accessible care.
A trip to the hospital is only another 30 minutes on the bus and as it turns out this would have been time well spent.
Appointment number one failed as the staff member who could work the Doppler machine was not in until later. Appointment number two failed as the nurse using the Doppler machine could not get it to work properly – no back-up support available to assist. Appointment three failed because the wrong type of gel was available to get a reading.
Three weeks have now passed as the clinic only runs once a week. And the venous ulcer in question continues to exist but fortunately not to expand.
Running outpatient clinics and other services out in the community is good for the patient as it makes services more accessible and can be cost-effective.
The plan is that services for long-term conditions such as venous ulcers will be looked after by outreach and community services. But for this to work they must be properly resourced in terms of staff and equipment.
Community care is not supposed to be care on the cheap.
My friend did not feel the failure of each appointment was down to the willingness of the staff as each time the staff did their best to rectify the problems that occurred at each consultation. But that there was not the human and equipment resources to offer the service that deserved the commitment of the staff.