BRANCH: With this item number, you need a specimen collection point number.
ME: Head Office have told me you can override that with a miscellaneous code.
BRANCH (noises of shock and amazement): No. Oh, no. That's not possible.
*gives up, rings Head Office*
ME: Hello, this is Lab X, I need to know our specimen collection point number.
HEAD OFFICE: Oh. You'll need to contact the lab that did the tests.
ME: We ARE the lab that did the tests.
HEAD OFFICE: Well, you'll need to contact the authority which issues that number.
ME: I am. Medicare issues the number.
HEAD OFFICE: What? No we don't.
ME: I have mail on your letterhead which tells me otherwise. Can you please look up our SPC?
HEAD OFFICE: We don't know it, it's not linked to any of your provider numbers. That's pathology, see, and no one here has anything to do with pathology.
ME (holding my breath to keep from imploding): Who DOES deal with pathology?
HEAD OFFICE: Um. National Office?
NATIONAL OFFICE: Hi, what do you need?
ME: My SCP.
NO: Oh, that's easy. It's linked to your provider number.
ME: Please tell me you're kidding.
NO: Not at all. Plus, there's only ever three numbers an SPC could be, and your lab doesn't qualify for two of them. Plus, one of them's just a miscellaneous code which covers, well, pretty much anything.
ME: *headdesk* Thank you.
Medicare. It's a model of organisational efficiency, innit?