1. Catching up with the times

    Dear Editor,

    I was so glad when my daughter, also a nurse, found this piece of research. I note with sadness the date - 2001.

    I live in the wilds of Essex, at least 25 miles from the great 'metropolis'. Two years ago I had a vile stroke, so I no longer drive. Recently 'they' noticed that I had AF and must start on anticoagulant treatment instantly. There is a proudly "Nurse led Clinic" at a hospital some half an hour away. It works well BUT the transport picks up patients from all over Essex. Not only is one frequently collected two or three hours before the clinic, but one has to wait for transport for several hours AFTER the efficient 3 minute blood test.

    The logistics of this are understandable, but I did begin to wonder why I couldn't do the test myself, or at least go to the much nearer surgery. I kept being told that one had to be 'specially trained'- or that the blood test that was done in the ward was 'different' and needed venous blood - a constant denial of the facts - nurses and doctors kept insisting on their exclusive magical powers.

    First we bought the kit - annoyingly expensive! The GP won't play ball, though I keep meeting people who know of practices which are happy to. Nor will the hospital clinic accept my readings - so far. I find the Clinic visits exhausting and 'bad for my health', and I am by no means among the most decrepit of some of the poor folk I travel with, and who sit in wheel chairs waiting for transport.

    As a professional who often pioneered small changes in Family Practice which made things easier for our patients I am irritated by this failure to take up simple changes in practice which benefit all of us.

    Julia Wyatt
    SRN BA Hons (Lond)

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