Dr Copperfield responds to NHSE’s new support tool for supporting breathless patients
One of the most gratifying aspects of our wonderful job is when NHSE tells us that something we already do perfectly well should be done better, and to an arbitrary time frame, while simultaneously throwing any number of obstacles in our way to make that impossible.
And we have a lovely example with the new NHS ‘support’ (hollow laughter) ‘tool’ (ditto but even more so) for managing breathlessness. Yes, I’d love to have patients sorted within the requisite six months. But there are a few hurdles, aren’t there?
Such as NICE guidelines on asthma so bewildering as to be unusable. And the lack of faith in practices being sentient enough to perform and interpret spirometry, resulting in a six-month-plus waiting list locally. And that wait is doubling because the inevitable hub referral proforma has so many tick boxes that one gets missed and the patient gets bounced. And the absolute or relative unavailability of FeNo tests, even if I could work out when I need to request one. And the withdrawn funding for local anti-smoking clinics. And so on, ad dyspnoeam.
All of which means that a process that once took me six weeks now may well end only when I’m signing a crem form. You have to laugh, don’t you? Then at least you know why you’re breathless.
Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here