I am well educated and I know that antibiotics can’t cure the common cold, you would not find me sitting in the surgery for such a thing. However you may well see me at out of hours at 10.30pm waiting with a child who is in pain and struggling with a fever. Believe me – my idea of the perfect Sunday evening involves prosecco and not sitting in out of hours. But, having looked in my teens throat with a torch and clearly being able to see green puss oozing from her tonsils it was clear there was an infection. Coupled with the fact that her little sister had it the week before and no antibiotics were used and I had it six weeks ago it is clear that we are not shifting the infection.
The emergency doctor looked and agreed that she had tonsillitis but explained that the common treatment is now to wait and see, however he will swab it to see what bacterial infection it is. Fast forward a few days of missed school and going back before she is healthy because she is in Y11 and doesn’t want to miss lessons. The message our children get regarding attendance is that they cannot miss school. We are told that our children need to be in school and as parents I believe that we now rush them back before they are well. We put them back into environments that are highly populated and spread more infections. Attendance at school is overtaking the desire for our children to be fit and healthy. We celebrate those children who never miss a day and yet what about the children that do? They don’t get the attendance certificates proudly handed out in assembly saying that this child is healthy. Are we now punishing children for being ill?
I was at a conference last week for young carers and we talked about how young carers that miss school are often punished subtly for this. Whole class attendance is shared between year groups and those that don’t hit the required threshold don’t get treats. There are reports of class outing for classes with great attendance, what about the child with an ongoing medical condition in the other class, what about the young carer? This can ostracise them from their peers and cause social problems if others in the class are looking for the reason ‘their’ class are not being rewarded. The attendance issue is a political hotbed that is overtaking common sense.
However – I have digressed, back to my teen. Chloe is still under the weather, still over tired but struggled on, she has gone back to school to share her germs. At lunch time I rang our surgery as requested and was told that I’d need a telephone appointment with a GP and this could happen on Friday afternoon – Is this ok Mrs Bradley? I spoke up. ‘No – actually it is not OK. My teen clearly needs medication which is what the screen will be suggesting due to the swab taken three days ago’. Yet I have to wait another two days to be told this information and for the prescription ordered. I refused to wait that long and after a few minutes the phone was given to someone more senior. The story explained again. The outcome the same, I need a GP telephone call. I suggested that a GP take a look at the screen instead of wasting a telephone appointment with me and just authorise the prescription and I come and collect it. Luckily for me there was a GP in the background, I was put on hold and then told that the GP had looked at the screen and yes, a ten day antibiotic course was needed and I could come straight down to collect.
The system – yet again staggers me. We know GP’s are under pressure yet someone had decided that my teen should add to that pressure and take up a telephone appointment for what was obviously an admin job. The medical test had already be done and analysed. I didn’t need a telephone appointment with a specialist I just needed the prescription. Also I had rung the surgery – I wonder when they would have rung me to tell me that Chloe had a bacterial infection. Oh and for the record I have caught it off her (again) I too will now need a GP appointment or maybe two depending on the outcome of the first swab.