… why fix it?
That’s what I thought again and again after taking mum to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for another of her blood tests, prior her appointment with one of her 2 regular doctors (endocrinologist and geriatrician) who require a blood screening be4 appointment.
In the past year or so, it was a breeze to get the blood screening team to see mum. We just dropped in any time up to just a week be4 the doctor’s appointment and in a few minutes mum blood was drawn and we would be on our way.
Today, it was still a breeze but we went thru one more step. Instead of going straight to the blood screening room after registration on arrival, this time we were given a number and had to wait to be called to be registered. After that, we had to wait again to be called for the blood-taking.
And no, it had nothing to do with a new registration process but the fact that TTSH clinics have introduced a new procedure. Even for blood tests one must have an appointment!
We had been informed about this some time back that the hospital is introducing blood tests by appointments, altho walk-in would still be allowed, grudgingly. Hence having no appointment today, we were subjected to one more step, one more waiting number!
I prefer the walk-in method and had told the staff so last year because it’s very stressful to get an 87-year-old with MCI problems to be on time for appointments.
I understand completely that there can’t be walk-ins for specialists, as their time is very precious and their patient load huge.
And I’ve always made sure that mum turns up early to see her specialists: better that we wait for the doctors than they wait for us.
I think I know why TTSH has introduced an appointment system for blood testing: to ensure better workflow and staff deployment.
What it should consider also is that an appointment system takes away the flexibility of patients who need to visit the hospital frequently. And perhaps lead to more no-shows or late arrivals.
Until TTSH started allowing patients to have their blood tests done a few days be4 the actual appointment to see the specialists, the old and chronic sick had to endure longer stretches of hanging around the hospital, up to perhaps two hours to have their blood tested be4 their appointment.
Sometimes the test results weren’t available in time for their appointments; so either the doctor had to do without their guidance — which defeated the purpose of the tests — or the patient had to wait until the results were available, which could mean he/she would go back to the end of the doctor’s waiting queue.
Now that we have blood testing by appointment, I fear my mother may have to go back to same day testing, rather than have the leisure of doing the tests another day, at a time convenient to us.
This is because I might as well lump together the stress of keeping appointments to one visit rather than spread it over two visits– when blood tests and seeing specialists have to be done by appointment!