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The West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

The West Wing

Next day …

My first visit to the West Wing and I am directed to the sub waiting room.

There is nothing more miserable than a sub waiting room full of people with painful eyes.

I was examined and, although there was nothing glaringly obvious, the doctor thought that there might be a hint of glaucoma and referred me to Mr Salmon’s Glaucoma Clinic. This threw me into the clutches of the appointments system from hell.

The appointments process involves the clinician giving you a piece of paper that you hand to a receptionist. The receptionist tells you the date of the next free appointment, but does not make the appointment then and there – it has to be done later. No. I don’t understand either.

The appointment came through by letter the following week and, on 5th October I was seen by Mr Salmon, the consultant.

Woman with camera

Focus creep (Photo credit: George Eastman House)

Mr S. pronounced my eyes generally healthy and, more importantly, glaucoma-free. The problem, he said, was what photographers call “focus creep” and what he called “something common in people of your age”. But “not to worry” as he had a colleague who, he assured me, was “very nice” and would be able to help me. He wrote a name down on a piece of paper and told me to give it to reception so that they could arrange an appointment. This I did. They could not, of course, book an appointment then and there.

10 days later, I had not heard anything.