How a postal strike affected my health in ways I never thought it would

I know, I’ve not posted in a while, because guess what, my health has been rubbish again. But there’s a very peculiar reason behind that, which I shall now attempt to relate.

I get my medication delivered. I take a biologic called adalimumab for my crohns. It’s great, and works well for me, but in order for my prescription to be put in, I have to have a blood test. The IBD unit at the hospital sends me these forms when I need a blood test so they can send my prescription. They send these by post, and normally, it works just fine.

This time round, not so much.

If you’re in the UK you’ll be very aware of all the strikes that are happening, from rail workers to border officials and everything in between, including the postal service.

It was their strike action in December that started all this. Most of my complaints around that time were that the cards I sent would be late, and I didn’t even know that I was due a blood test form. Yet somewhere in the depths of the postal system lurked a little form requesting that I have a blood test so they can send my prescription in.

I didn’t find out I was due a blood test until I was running low on my medication and rang both the hospital and the delivery company to get more doses. The hospital said they sent the original form in early December, right around the time of the postal worker strike, and another one in early January. To their credit I did get the January re-sent one, but the one they allegedly sent in December hasn’t materialised. Mind you, some people still haven’t got the cards I sent them in December so I have no clue where they are.

On to problem number two: actually getting an appointment for the blood test.

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who was missing a form for a blood test and the place I go was absolutely inundated with test requests. For context, I got the new form on 16th January and the first appointment for a blood test I could get was 16th February. I had to wait an entire month to have the test.

I’ve had the test now and been assured my prescription is on the way to the delivery people, but I’ve missed two doses through not having any medication and I don’t feel great. Add the stress of the whole situation to it, and no wonder I feel rubbish.

As this goes to post I’m out of the office on a field trip to see our logistics partner warehouse, and I’m hoping that when I get back and check my phone, there will be a message saying they have my prescription and will be arranging a delivery. They have till next Friday to arrange it, otherwise that’s three doses I will have missed.

I understand the reason for and the need for the strikes, don’t get me wrong, but the fact that something like that can cause such a major impact to me, and others, got me wondering: why doesn’t there appear to be a contingency plan in place? Why not email the blood test forms out? I know the hospital has my email address. I own a printer. Surely they can hit ‘send’ and get them to me electronically? But they chose to post the form despite the strikes. I find it a bit odd, personally. This is people’s health and medication at risk here.

The other thing that confused me (and still does every time I get correspondence from the NHS) is why they send these things second class. Back in the days of my early employment, when I was a simple admin assistant, I was taught that anything urgent or important should be sent first class. Isn’t a blood test form important? Just my opinion.

Everyone I’ve bothered to get this resolved has, with the exception of one person at the delivery company who was obstructive (and rude, why is someone like that working in customer service?), been really good and understanding and helpful. Hopefully I’ll have my medicine soon, and hopefully I’ll be feeling back to my old self again.


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