In June, animator Yael Biran wrote a sarcastic post on Facebook about how "rubbish" the service she received at an NHS hospital had been after she broke her elbow.
Her friends liked the post so much, Biran decided to send the letter on to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. In it she said:
Dear Lewisham PALs [patient, advice and liaison service],
I would like to complain about a visit I had to your A&E department on Monday the 15th of June 2015. Sorry in advance for my language, but this really upset me.
On Monday the 15th of June I fell and knew I broke something (turns out I broke my elbow) So I went to Lewisham A&E.
I came armed with a book to help me pass the waiting time! Actually enjoying the fact that I am going to get to read a book for a chance!
But no… the bloody nurse sees me in 6 minutes! 6 ruddy minutes! All I had time for was to send a text, settle down, get my glasses out and find the right page, and they bloody call me in!
She then sends me to have an X-ray and says I need to sit in the x-ray waiting room.
Yay, I think, a waiting room – I will get to read my book!
And so I don't even bother to put anything back in the bag and happily skip to the x-ray waiting area, book in hand and glasses on top of head. I sit down and get seen within 37 seconds. the fuckers!
All done and dusted and 5 minutes later I skip to the next waiting area to wait for the next nurse to see me.
By that point I think I owe myself a chocolate from the vending machine but waste 5 minutes trying to make it work (it didn't – at least there is one thing you can count on in this A&E!) I then sit down comfortably, happy in the notion that surly, now… I will get at least a couple of chapters… but no!
2 minutes later I get to see the next nurse who is an absolute gem and is super nice, she explains everything, gives me a sling, and a tetanus shot and sends me on my way home! home! bloody rubbish!
I left home and came back in less than 2 hours! Seriously! something must be done about this! what is a mum to do in order to get a few hours of quiet reading in this country???!!!
Sincerely yours, A frustrated mother of 2 little boys who don't give her a second's rest.
P.S. You rock! :)"
And then brilliantly, she got this reply.
The exchange was later published in the hospital's newsletter, i100 reported.
Biran told BuzzFeed News that when she went to A&E she brought her book because she was certain she'd need something to read.
She'd just started reading when the nurse called for her. "I think that's why it stuck in my mind, all the time I kept wanting to dive into it again [the book] which made the quickness of it all so very apparent," she said.
"When I got home my brother called and I told him about not being able to read, he laughed so much I decided to write it as a Facebook post."
Biran said her post was an instant hit among her friends. She said they found it refreshing to hear a good story about the NHS instead of the negative publicity.
She also said she thought the hospital's reply was brilliant.
"Not just the letter from Mr Higginson, but the cover letter that came with it where they thanked me for 'brightening their day' and the overall feel that many of the people who work at the hospital loved it and appreciated it," she added.
Biran said she thought her letter hit a chord because people had appreciated the opportunity to show their love and support for the NHS and parents were keen to share a story about needing some time to read.
She said the reaction to the letter has been surreal, with it finding its way to places such as Australia, Israel and Norway.
"When I log into Facebook I feel like a bit of a star, or at least my letter is a bit of a star. But once I log off life is just as is :) "
Richard James is acting head of news for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.
Contact Richard James at email@example.com.
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