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Gumby speaks

June 21, 2013

My advice to anyone who will listen is this; don’t ever get ill or need medical treatment in the UK, fly to France, and even with the travelling time involved, treatment will be considerably quicker. Here are the facts. It took me three months to get an appointment with a specialist, 3 days to get a repeat prescription from the doctors surgery and 33 minutes to wait for it to be dispensed. I was on the point of taking a photo of the screen informing the unlucky ill people how long they would have to wait for a pharmacist to reach into a cupboard and retrieve their drugs, when the screen ceased to function. Some in the waiting area were so old, they had probably died waiting. That is one way for the national health Service to cut costs I suppose, keep them waiting long enough so they die before becoming a burden.

Arundel castle cricket

Author does his angry “Gumby” impersonation

But it was even worse. Having finally had my appointment with the nose doctor (a lesser writer and one with a significantly poorer or less developed sense of humour than the author of this column, pictured today doing his best Monty Python “Gumby” impersonation, may have joked that she had bogied about with it), I was given a prescription. As I was paying for the car park and had been at the hospital for nearly an hour, I thought I would go back to the pharmacy in Arundel (where there is no car park charge) to collect my medication. Bad idea. For some ridiculously bureaucratic nonsensical reason, they could not dispense whatever concoction the doctor had ordered, so for me retrieve the drugs, I had to endure a twenty mile return trip to Chichester for it to be dispensed by the hospital. So, with a 33 minute wait, they collected yet another £1.60 (nearly 1.80 euros at today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates) in parking fees. Brilliant economics for the NHS. Crap for the patient.

More rain, gloomy conditions and wind blunted our desire to go out to lunch, so I put that nose to the grindstone (perhaps that was what has been causing the problem, perhaps I should refrain from work for medical reasons) and continued the detailed planning that is required when one is going to be away from the nerve centre of ones empire for 6 weeks. Tennis shoes, golf shoes, beach shorts, cigar humidor are all vital pre requisites for a trip abroad, and must be collected up and packed properly. There is also the question of delegation. Delegating responsibilities has been my watchword over the past 10 years, I have become a past master at it. The secret is in the planning. First find someone willing and capable to take responsibility, then delegate that entire responsibility, and go on holiday. I so hope my label manager is not reading this, but he is so cool there is little chance.

Did I say holiday? What I meant of course was that I am going to France on order to spearhead a sales drive for my new book The Valbonne Monologues. Sales have plateaued at 107 so far, but I think the potential is much higher, maybe even as many as 250 with enough discounting, and err… persuasion if the blackmail kind. I am willing to wager that sales will be achieved in the summer in return for the suppression of photographs or stories about bad behaviour. I cannot wait.

Last night then to a riverside barbecue with the luscious Laura the Cockney. Eventually, the rain relented and, as is completely normal in England, everyone seemed to forget that it had been raining for most of the week and dashed outside to make the most of some quite disappointing hazy sunshine and a stiff breeze, and then to discuss the lack of virtue in an English summer.

Chris France

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathryn Soni permalink
    June 22, 2013 10:47 am

    Very true on the endless waiting for health issues in the UK., the delay in waiting for diagnosis has had some serious consequences for some of my friends this year.


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    June 22, 2013 12:21 pm

    On the reverse of the coin I was taken ill in the middle of the night near St. Tropez and had to spend 3 days in hospital. The specialist refused treatment unless I came up with a small fortune in cash. I also hear that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the authorities to honour the reciprocal agreements demanded under european legislation because so many elderly ex. pats are retiring to the South of France and are becoming a drain on resources. The problem with the the millions of minor complaints it is forced to deal with. When I had a heart attack some years ago it was outstanding although it’s true to say that it’s sensible not to be taken seriously ill at weekends !


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