No, Dr Whitty. The NHS Is Not “Open For Business”

Dr Chris Whitty yesterday stated that hospitals are “open for business” and are ready to help people with all conditions, not just Covid. A reader begs to differ.

Last week I had a telephone consultation in a Hertfordshire surgery re the possible onset of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The doctor said yes that sounds like COPD, book an appointment for a spirometry test. This is an essential element in diagnosing COPD. As this incurable condition progressively worsens, more spirometry tests are conducted and changes in treatment are made.

I booked the test and was called back 15 minutes later to be told that my appointment could not be kept because it was “not allowed”.

“Not allowed?” I asked. “What do you mean?”

“It’s not allowed.”

“I understand that,” I said. “Why not?”

Again the reply, “It’s not allowed”, and so it went on. Eventually in a temper I requested he ring back shortly when he had found out exactly why this essential test for COPD was “not allowed”. 15 minutes later he rang back. It’s not allowed, he told me, because the test involves exhaling with as much force as one can muster and therefore there is a Covid risk to the nurse.

If there is that much risk have the test outside! This test, I repeat, is essential for COPD diagnosis and treatment.

Absurd as this is, the doctor herself, by proposing that I have a spirometry test, is clearly unaware that currently in that practice at least they are not allowed.