Please get in touch with us – but it may not be easy

We all know by now how difficult it is to get hold of a doctor. I have got hold of a couple of nurses recently, and there is a lot to be said for that – in fact, some might say it is the better option. Quite exciting, even. As I only needed a blood test, I was certainly fine with it. It was a pleasant experience. 

I haven’t had the result of the tests yet, but that’s only to be expected. 

Fortunately I have not had to contact any civil servants recently; the newspapers are full of the ridiculously slow response time from various Home Office departments (if that’s what they are – they may have become detached); so I don’t need to add to that mountain of paperwork. Besides, I’m working from home.

There’s sadly very little you can do with people who won’t respond, or who make it difficult for you to do the simple thing you want to do. I would like to cancel my BT Sport subscription, but there is nowhere on the vast and varied BT website where you can do that. I am summoning up my reserves of strength to give them a ring.

This kind of thing extends even to the deceased, I discovered after my brother died just before Christmas. In due course I received a letter from the Bereavement Services department of my local council, which seemed nice. It mentioned certain services they could offer concerning the grave. 

There was no indication what you should do if you wanted this service, or wanted to know exactly what it was. Or didn’t. The only phone number given was the general council number, which I eventually rang. There was a queue, of course, but they rang me back a couple of hours later. Fortunately I was still at home.

After I explained what I wanted, they tried to put me through to the Bereavement Services department, but this proved impossible: they weren’t picking up. I would like to say the line was dead, but in the interests of accuracy, I can’t. It just kept ringing. 

Their preferred method of communication, a recording eventually  informed me, was by e-mail, which they gave at high speed. I got it, which must have been disappointing for them.

I wondered, since e-mail was their preferred method of communication, why they didn’t put their e-mail address on the letter they sent me. Presumably this would have been too straightforward. 

I e-mailed them, and got a fairly quick response. The letter gave some details (not all, of course), and included both their e-mail address and a direct line phone number, which they had presumably discovered somewhere, or just installed.

I am fairly resilient, but I can imagine some bereaved people might get quite upset by this sort of thing. Frustration can do funny things to you. So I have a small bit of advice for the council. You can ignore people who don’t have their bins collected, but do try to make things as easy as you can for people who have just lost a loved one. It’s not that hard, is it?