Monday, January 07, 2008

nhs direct

Sometimes it is difficult explaining to people that you live on a boat, and that the boat is on a canal rather than in the garden of your house.

Sometimes, like most people, I need to make calls to NHS direct for some advice about something or the other. Unfortunately I didn’t have the number with me when I recently called, so I took my computer for a drive and parked in a nearby pub carpark where I knew there was wifi. I got the number and gave them a call. It turns out that NHS direct are very concerned about where you live:

NHS: Could you tell me the postcode of where you are calling from?

[Bones does a quick internet search and gives it to them]

NHS: Is that where you live?

Moi: No

NHS: Could you tell me the postcode of where you live

Moi: Erm.. No. I live on a boat, but I give them the postcode of the nearest place.

NHS: Could I have a house number please?

Moi: Erm.. no, it’s a boat. [I tell them the boat name to help out]

NHS: Do you get post delivered there

Moi: No. That gets delivered to one of two places: My friends house or my work address

NHS: Is that where you live?

Moi: NO! Why do you need this information?

NHS: So we know where to find you if our call gets terminated.

Moi: OK I am in my car with the windows steaming up in the pub carpark. Can I ask you my question now?

So – they tell me someone will phone me back


NHS: Hello, could you confirm that the post code we have is your home address?

Moi: NO, I still live on a boat but I was calling from a pub carpark, and I am now at home floating on a canal that isn't far from where I said I was in the first place. Can you help me with my query?

Some one will phone back in 2hours. And I am allowed to wait ‘at home’ for the call, as long as they can contact me on my mobile.

At home 2hours later I get a call.

NHS: I understand you live in the pub.

Moi: NO.

In the end they decided I should speak to the DR. The local Dr phone back within 5minutes, didn’t care where I lived, answered the question within 10seconds and the issue was resolved.


Anonymous bottle said...


You have to realise that you are talking in the first instance to a telephone answer service, the computer terminal gives them the questions to ask, when the answer you give 'does not compute' they cannot move on to the next question. I expect that they put in an answer that would allow them to move on.
Glad you are still alive,:)

6:14 PM  
Anonymous weepingcross said...

Yes, it's lucky it was nothing serious. Bitter experience suggests no one should call NHS Direct with anything that they don't already know the answer to. Somehow I think you should publish this - but I don't know where! The Lancet!?!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

how fustrating, one of those situations that if you din't laugh you would have to screem (very loud)!!!

12:29 PM  

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