Although I can be a bit of an arse at times I think it would be fair to say that I am quite smart. Educated to degree level I was even a member of Mensa for a year a while back, until I was clever enough to realise that the company of people good at IQ tests was hell's waiting room itself.
So the three stapled-together sheets from NHS Somerset should not have been a problem:
First thing I read:
To book your appointment please call The Booking Management Service: (01278 ******)
(PLEASE IGNORE THE TELEPHONE NUMBERS ON THE APPOINTMENT REQUEST SHEET and the one given by healthspace when you are not able to book your appointment online)
To Book Via the Internet go to https://www.healthspace.nhs.uk/
So this is all before I get to the 'Dear Patient' bit. Something to ignore before I've read anything, an alarming random use of capitals, bold and text size and the introduction of a word 'healthspace' of which I have never heard.
Reading on I discover that phoning the Booking Management Service is indeed my first step but I will need to have my appointment request sheet (sheet two, although labelled sheet 1 of 2) and my password (sheet three, although labelled sheet 2 of 2) at hand.
I discover that when I choose and book the appointment (details on sheet two and, aha, here is a phone number I think I have to ignore) I can choose ONE of the following choices. I guess there are many people who choose to book two appointments and go to the earlier one but I am saved this ethical dilemma by only having one choice available in the box that follows. Here, in all its glory, is my choice:
Musculoskeletal Interface service - NSPCT - 5M841
MUSCULOSKELETAL INTERFACE SERVICE
Online booking for this service is not available
It is followed by the second telephone number I need to ignore.
When I pluck up the resolution to phone, the automated answering machine thanks me for calling Choose and Book, an organisation I am not aware of having phoned.
After a few holds and presses (probably the things that hurt my knee in the first place) I get through to a nice woman who tells me she can't book my appointment for this but I will hear from the clinic in a few days.
If this is the sort of thing that counts as waste then I am up for getting rid of it. What hope would you have if you were not smart?
I have now seen a nice doctor at the clinic, oops I mean interface service and have been diagnosed with a torn cartilage which I have three more weeks to exercise into submission before I get keyhole-scalpel work.
Continuing my work as a chaos-generator right now I can tell you there was a fire alarm while I was in the clinic.
I'll keep you informed.