Thursday, 18 December 2008

Healthcare Bingo

Bored of the postcode lottery? I offer you an alternative, which may be played whatever your address and from the comfort of your own home. This is I suppose the armchair version of the Special Parent Olympics.

You will need at least one child with complex medical needs, score bonus points for having more than one. You will need to have at least theoretical access to a variety of different healthcare professionals, with ideally a range of specialities, and a number of different categories of professional.

All set? Good.

There are two ways of playing this. The first requires planning, forethought, and a "week to view" diary. The challenge? To arrange sufficient appointments to see each and every one of those professionals within a standard Monday to Friday week (outpatient appointments only; being admitted is cheating*).

The second is in theory a faster game. For this version, you need only your telephone and infinite patience with receptionists. Take your telephone, and attempt to make contact with at least one healthcare professional in each speciality. There is a time limit on this, and that is the time available to you whilst your youngest child watches a feature length episode of the Teletubbies.

Bonus points are available should you manage to make direct contact with a doctor. Medium prizes available should any doctors spontaneously call you during this time frame. And to win the jackpot, you need to be phoned by the consultant from a different speciality, before you have managed to leave any messages for him.

A small extra prize is available (or if it isn't, it jolly well should be), for managing to juggle these phonecalls with an in-house appointment with a bed rep. If you manage to contact the OT and let her know said rep has turned up 30 minutes early, you may be rewarded with the gift of her presence. Suctioning a small child whilst continuing to receive the qualifying phonecalls will give you a larger gift; the OT will decide you definitely need the more expensive superwhizzy expensive bed with the fancy bedsides and decent profiling mattress.

Listening to the bed rep discuss dimensions of the bed with the OT and requesting that the OT measures the available space in the bedroom will win you an additional prize - a Disabled Facilities Grant assessment (with added extra of larger drive to accommodate larger more accessible and more able to convey larger amounts of equipment van).

This will, in a few month's time, win the biggest prize of all - more builders. Marvellous.

*Being admitted with an unidentified illness requiring the immediate attention of at least one professional from each speciality entitles you to play hospital bingo instead; House may be called only if you manage to see all those professionals within the initial 4 hours in A&E. An extra prize available if by the end of the admission you have gained access to a new set of specialist in a hitherto unvisited area of medicine.

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