Today, I had to go to Great Missenden to The Practice, to get my eyes tested. This was because my GP, after reading the letter from Marylebone Hospital, had referred me to the optical doctor there. I had planned to cycle to the appointment, it's only seven miles, but it was raining, so I drove. I took my caching gear with me in case the rain should stop and I could do a bit of caching round there. The rain didn't stop.
When I got there, I waited, as usual. I'd taken two books with me, because I know the NHS well. Then I got to see someone, not a doctor, I think. He was just going to test my field of vision, to see if I could see things "out of the corner of my eye" as it were. I've done this exact same test at the optometrician two weeks ago, using the exact same equipment. I guess these people don't communicate very well. We did the right eye, and I think I scored very well on that, but then he put in the lenses for my left eye, and I immediately told him that somethng was wrong, I couldn't see the light spot very well. I asked him what prescription he was using, and he told me, +1.75. "Sounds wrong to me," I said, "try -1.75". He explained to me how a mistake like that couldn't possibly be made, and I refrained from explaining to him my long experience of the sorts of mistake people made. We tried it, and I was right. I also corrected their spelling of my name, and the fact that both of the papers referred to my right eye. My left eye field of vision wasn't quite as good as the right eye, and that's the eye that has the hign internal pressure. But they both look pretty good, in my non-medical opinion.
I asked him why he didn't do the test that had raised the problem in the first place, the ocular pressure test. But he didn't have the equipment for that.
Then he suggested that maybe I could see a doctor while I was there - sounded good to me, much better than coming back on 22 May at 3.15 (four weeks later) for the next appointment. So I went to the waiting room, and got back into my book. After about 20 minutes, a doctor came out and told me that he wouldn't be able to see me today, as I wasn't in his list. "Fair enough," I thought, and went home.
An hour or so after I got home, I got a call from The Practice. Apparently, the other doctor had called me in, but I wasn't there, because the first doctor had told me not to expect to see him.
I'm very glad that my problem is a minor, non-urgent, issue with my eye (and I'm already taking the drops prescribed by Marylebone for that). The medical capabilities of the NHS might be excellent (I say "might be" because I actually have no way to judge), but my experience of their administration is pretty bad.