The Blobshire General Hospital
Dear Dr Jest,
Your patient, Miss Archer attended our unit today.
Presenting complaint; Personal
Diagnosis; 29E: Gynaecological Conditions – other
Treatment: 511: Medication – oral
So ran the letter that wung (or is that winged, wang… er…) its way to my electronic in-tray yesterday. It seems all those hours spent on communication skills at the Big Hospital are not practised in the far flung frozen wastes of Blobshire, or at least not in their General Hospital.
You have to give them some credit I suppose. They’ve managed to compile a discharge note and forward it to the right GP at least, but sadly it’s of approximately no use. At least not as a clinical communication anyhow. What this is, in effect, is a glorified invoice.
You see Blobshire is some distance from our own dearly beloved Ambridge, and our paymasters are unlikely to hold a contract with them for services of any kind, "personal" or otherwise. So if Miss A felt the need for medical attention whilst there on a visit, her treatment will have to be paid for, after the fact, by our own PCT sending a wad of fivers to the Blobshire Acute Trust. To do this our PCT will require evidence of treatment being carried out, which is where we came in.
Disappointingly even the codes are no help. Our 29E is “Pain- Sensation- other” and makes no mention of any gynae’ problem, all the codes before and after it having to do with various types of limp. And on our system 511 doesn’t even exist, so I’m really none the wiser. Sadly as it appears Miss A was not assessed at all, and had no outcome recorded, I can only imagine what happened to her a few nights back on the mean streets of Blobcester.
Still all is not lost, I missed off my absolute favourite bit of the letter. Without, so far as I can glean, the font being so devoid of expression as to make irony improbable, any hint of the same, the communiqué concludes thus:
“If you require any further details, please contact us on the above number.”
* You all know what's on offer by now. EVCHN to the first correct attribution.