Long ago I used fax a lot. I had a modem and a computer and that allowed me to easily sent faxes to companies if I needed to, and as most companies had a fax machine, that is how I communicated, especially when I had a complaint. At the time, the idea of an individual having a fax seemed rare. I even had a system to do big sideways banners on fax rolls to get their attention if they ignored me. It was the twitter of the day :-)
But fax has died down, just as telex did. A handful of people still have fax machines and probably don't really know why they even keep them. We (A&A) stopped using fax or quoting fax numbers a long time ago when the last mult-function scanner/printer/fax we had broke. I expected never to use a fax again.
Well, as my blogs and tweets have suggested, I have been trying to get to see my GP for over a week. Nothing too serious but seems to be a reaction to medication, and getting worse. An ideal GP thing, as, a week or two ago I could have booked an appointment many days in advance when convenient. Not an emergency, etc. All very civilised.
Problem is that :-
- Surgery number is always busy or a massive queue. I went to NHS drop-in centre and they said to see my GP but gave up after trying to get through themselves for 10 minutes so saw me grudgingly.
- patient.co.uk on-line system states that there are no appointments. So I assumed it was not even worth calling again. It did not say "call for appointments" or anything like that, which seems now to be the case, it simply said that there are none.
- patient.co.uk has a message to GP feature, but after 8 days my messages have not been read/replied.
- The surgery has an email address, but after three days I have no reply.
So, what did I do? I faxed the surgery. Within minutes I got a call from the manager there. A bit apologetic but ultimately helpful booking an appointment for today! Later I got a call from the receptionist also trying to sort me an appointment! As if by magic the fax just works. I will probably try that as my first course of action next time I need an appointment...
I had to actually visit one of the neighbouring companies who have a fax machine lurking in their back office!
So, yes, there is life in fax still :-)
P.S. I have written in asking why the on-line appointment booking lies, and why it does not work, why the message to GP thing does not work, and why it does not even list my appointments that I have made properly. Hopefully I'll get an answer and maybe they will fix it.
Update: Had a meeting - they have fixed several of the problems and told off staff that made mistakes. The only one they are stuck on is the wording of the appointments which should say none available to book on-line, and not just that none are available. So, progress. Even so - next time - I fax!
P.S. Not a reaction to medication but on some suitable meds now and all sorted.