Marie Louise McConville: No doubt about it, Covid has changed everyone's lives

This new NHS approach of faceless phone call appointments just doesn't suit me
This new NHS approach of faceless phone call appointments just doesn't suit me This new NHS approach of faceless phone call appointments just doesn't suit me

We always knew life would be different.

We were told many times that life would never be the same again due to Covid and they were right.

Yes, some of us are still wearing face masks and some of us are still social distancing and I can live with that but there's some changes I don't like and I don't want to accept.

For 20 years now I've been attending the diabetic clinic at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Based there is a simply brilliant team made up of doctors, nurses, dieticians, podiatrists and eye specialists - basically a one-stop-shop for any Type 1 diabetic in need of a check-up.

It was always a great set up.

You would pop along for your appointment, have your MOT and be done. In and out in an hour.

Of course, if anything extra was needed - help with your blood testing kit, insulin pen, your diet or even if you just needed a chat about life with diabetes - the wonderful team was on hand for support.

Now, things are so different and I don't like it.

Recently, I've started being sent to Musgrave Park Hospital for my blood to be taken by a team who don't know me, don't even know what condition I have and have no answers to my questions.

Then, I'm being phoned by different, unknown doctors, who have five minutes to talk to me about my diabetes.

During the latest phone call, one of my insulin doses was changed and I was left feeling a bit nervous.

And what if I have an issue?

Well, I'm told there's a phone number or even better, an email address or better still, an online educational video.

This new faceless style of no-hands-on medicine just does not suit me.

I also have problems with my GP surgery.

Trying to get speaking to a doctor and get an antibiotic for anything is a battle I have now lost the energy to fight.

I have been absolutely plagued by sinus infections since December and getting through to my surgery in the small window allocated in the morning time, has been next to impossible.

Some mornings I have been on hold for 20 minutes or more and who can do this when they are meant to be working and need their phone to work?

It shouldn't be this hard.

I am currently in agony from yet another sinus infection and honestly, I just don't have it in me to call and hold and hold and hold in the hope of getting through.

So, I'm just suffering.

There is no doubt the NHS is broken and I am just one of the many patients feeling a little bit lost at the moment.

So as the political parties prepare to fight it out a the polls this week, let's hope fixing our healthcare system is at the top of all of their agendas.


Our favourite Derry Girls have returned to Channel 4 on Tuesday evenings but has anyone else also become addicted to the brilliant Hullraisers, which is on straight after?

The hilarious sitcom follows three working-class Hull women who are at various stages of life.

These include Toni, a new mother, who needs a night out, her sister, Paula, and their friend Rana, a copper by day and party girl at night.

Together, the trio find themselves in some crazy but hilarious situations.

The girls offer some much needed laugh-out-loud comedy and I for one, have fallen for each of them.


The summer is almost in sight so how do you fancy winning an overnight break with some fab entertainment included?

Tourism Northern Ireland is offering one lucky winner and their plus one the chance to win a luxurious overnight stay at the world-famous Europa Hotel in Belfast as well as two tickets to see Six the Musical in the Grand Opera House on Saturday, August 20, 2022.

Located in the heart of the city, the Europa Hotel is located just a short distance from some of Belfast’s top tourist attractions including the Grand Opera House, where you will enjoy Six The Musical.

And to make this night even more amazing, the Europa Hotel will make you a signature cocktail and a selection of mouth-watering truffles, which are included in the prize.

And the next morning, you will enjoy a perfect breakfast at the Europa before you check out.

I have one prize voucher to give away.

If you would like the chance to win the voucher, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

(Q) The Europa Hotel is located in which Northern Ireland city?

Please note this prize is valid on Saturday, August 20, 2022 only.

Normal Irish News rules apply