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Rutland's Allan Grey takes inspiration from Captain Sir Tom Moore: Tomorrow will be a good day




Rutland columnist Allan Grey writes: The one quote from the inspirational Captain Sir Tom Moore that everyone will remember, is: “Tomorrow will be a good day”. Of course every today is a tomorrow as well, or at least it was yesterday.

So on that basis, today must also be a good day, and it couldn’t have got off to a better start, it will be a day to remember for some considerable time.

Have I won the lottery? No. Have Tigers won the Gallagher Premiership? Not yet. Has the virus mutated into a cure for baldness? Unlikely. Have Range Rovers been banned from Oakham High Street? Sadly not. So what then? Beter than all those unlikely events, I actually booked a GP appointment: RESULT!

Allan Grey at Everest
Allan Grey at Everest

For nearly two years I’ve been suffering increasing pain from tendonitis in both shoulders, and various scans and subsequent thrice daily physiotherapy-from-home using those tedious coloured elasticated bands the NHS send you, have barely scratched the surface. Then followed a number of steroid injections paid for privately which kept the pain at bay for 12 to 18 months, but now the pain is back and it looks like surgery may well be the last resort, but that becomes very expensive, especially if you have no health insurance. The consultant I have seen privately suggested he would be prepared to tackle the surgery via the NHS route, and the wait might be less than I would expect, however I would need a referral from my GP; OK I said naively, shouldn’t be too difficult.

Captain Sir Tom’s quote then began to look a little less prophetic when I contacted my GP surgery in order to book an appointment. I got through and very quickly explained the problem, but was told politely that there were no appointments available, and that I should try again the following morning at 8am when the practice opened. At 7.59am I’m up, shaved and showered, nice clean shirt, tie, shiny shoes, and then straight on the phone, it’s already engaged, but after 15 attempts, and 15 engaged tones, at the 16th attempt I eventually get into the phone queue. At regular intervals I’m very thoughtfully updated: “You are now 75th in the queue, you should have dragged yourself out of bed earlier you lazy tow rag.” Eventually I hear: “You are next in the queue, it could be your lucky day mate, but don’t hold your breath,” and I’m nearly wetting myself with excitement. It was like the Saturday when I had the first four numbers out of the lottery draw, just before we had a power cut.

Captain Tom Moore. Photo: PA (34005881)
Captain Tom Moore. Photo: PA (34005881)

Expectation soon turns to disappointment when I’m told again that there are no appointments available and I should try to book via the website. I said I had tried several times recently, but there are never any available. What time of the day are appointments released? Now they’re evasive, either they can’t or they won’t tell me that, way above their pay grade on the frontline, so I rang off frustrated, and none the wiser as to how to book an appointment.

Further investigation led me to the homepage of the surgery’s website, not the one where you can book an appointment, or order medication, but one I never knew existed, the home page with a panoramic Rutland background, showing the magnificent Harringworth Viaduct on a beautiful spring day. My excitement rises again as I see right in the middle of this home page, a big blue square in which bold capital letters say: ‘CONTACT THE SURGERY, PLEASE CLICK HERE. All my Christmases have come at once.

First click and then another page, top button: ‘Request Help From the Surgery’. Eagerly clicking that, I’m through to the login page, and you have guessed, I’ve forgotten my password, my computer doesn’t remember it for me on this new site. It offers me the opportunity to use my NHS login, I don’t know my password for that one either, and this leads to a 60 minute exercise to reinstate an NHS password. This includes me needing to prove my identity by photographing my driving licence, uploading the photo and then proving that the faded, bald headed geezer portrayed really is me, that it really is my driving licence. How to do this is to turn up the brightness on my iPad and allow it to scan my face. That’s a first, not done that before, the surveillance society has reached Rutland. A little later I get an email to say grudgingly that the photograph and the scan match, and I can reset my password, but had I thought about a facelift, or maybe Botox, oh, and you need to trim some of that rather nasty nasal hair?

In a flash I’m in, and I now detail my problem, increasing pain in both shoulders due to tendonitis, etc, I need a referral. Then follows a 30 minute software based questionnaire about my condition and when it’s completed, I’m offered the opportunity to download my responses to a PDF document for my records. This fails repeatedly.

Nevertheless, having still not lost the will to live, I eventually submit my questionnaire and wait for a reply from the surgery …and many days on I am still waiting.

I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but that was a marathon, and I congratulate myself at having communicated as directed. Another of my virtues is perseverance, and I think, I know what, I’ll take my iPad to bed with me, something I never do, all that late night blue light is very bad for a good night’s sleep.

For the next couple of nights, each time I wake up for some age related relief, I pick up my iPad and log in to the booking system, just to see if they have sneaked some appointments out in the dead of night, maybe in recognition of folk who work night shifts … but nothing .

This morning, I wake at around 6am, and saddo that I am, I think, I know what, I’ll see if there’s any appointments, and bingo! There’s two, for tomorrow, with my actual GP! That’s perseverance for you.

Thank you Captain Sir Tom, you were absolutely right, tomorrow will be a good day - as long as I get a referral that is!



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