Tuesday, 18th May, 2021

[Day 428]

We are today the day ‘after’ the relaxation of some of the more stringent COVID-19 lockdown regulations and it is now permitted to attend indoor sports classes and the like. So today was the day in which my Pilates classes were due to resume after a gap of several months. To be fair, the gap was for me but some of my fellow class members had kept going with ‘Zoom‘ so apart from the pleasure of being in a room together, my fellow class members had kept themselves going. As it was, there were only three of us in the class today, the fourth member being on holiday (or visiting relatives) in the West Country somewhere. I must say that after an absence of several months, I did not find the exercises too taxing and nor did I feel too tired immediately after the class had finished. But having come home and had a delayed lunch (and a doze) I am starting to feel a little ‘achy’ at the moment, but this is only to be expected. Earlier in the day, I had received a latter from my colo-rectal consultant advising me of the results of a recent CT scan and informing me to make an appointment with my doctor to be referred on to a pulmonary consultant to discuss some changes observed in one of my lungs (about which I refuse to be panicked) This is where the nightmare started! I got onto my local surgery but could not remember my username (this is because it was actually my email address which I had forgotten could be used as a proxy for a username). So the website suggested I register directly with the NHS. This required an email address (OK), a password (OK) and then a verification sent to the phone (also OK) Then the nightmare started. The website stated that they needed to know who I was so could I upload a scan of my driving license. This I did but the system told me that it was too fuzzy to be read so I could I do it all over again. This I did and then the system said it was going to scan my face – but the app froze. So I started all over again and at this point, the website could not make a match between its own scan and my driving licence. So I started all over again and this time uploaded my passport – the system ignored a scan of my face and said it was going to make a video of me repeating four numbers. But then I was told by the system that my Apple Mac could not take a video – I should contact the NHS directly so that they could explain to me that my technology would not work that I needed to make an appointment with the doctor – so basically after two hours of trying and retrying the system, I got nowhere. Is it any wonder that patients are not being treated for cancer and other conditions? However, some good came of all of this. My son suggested to me ‘Why not use the NHS App?‘ which I downloaded and everything seemed to work OK. Apart from the fact that I could not book an appointment (because there is nobody manning the system until 8.00am in the morning!), I nonetheless managed to get confirmation of the fact that I have received two doses of the vaccine and I have the QR code to prove it! Tomorrow morning, I shall download the app for Meg and get her into the system so that we have both of our statuses recorded on our iPhones. Moaning apart, how many elderly/confused/non-IT people get no access to the system because now everything (like our banking, groceries, shopping and every other kind of household bill) is now done on the net?

The COVID scene is proving to be entertaining. In Blackburn, Lancs. where the rate of Indian variant is very high, the health authorities on the ground are stretching the rules so that anyone over the age of 18 can receive the vaccine if they can show that they are a carer (who is not?) or have an underlying health condition (who has not?) This is interesting because the ‘official line’ is to vaccinate people in strict age order – but where the rate of infection seems incredibly close, they just want to get vaccine into as many people’s arms as they can! The Health Secretary Matt Hancock said most of the 19 people admitted to hospital with the Indian variant in the hotspot of Bolton were eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine but had not had it. So this raises the interesting conundrum whether the anti-vexers (if we can call them that) are now starting to feel the consequences of their own action/inaction. It seems to me that those who are refusing the vaccine are saying ‘My right not to have the vaccine overrides your right not to be infected by (unvaccinated) people like me!‘ Years and years ago, one had to provide proof of having had a TB immunisation before one was allowed near patients – the principle is practically the same.