"My experience in all departments has been first-class"

About: Lincoln County Hospital / Gastroenterology Pilgrim Hospital / Dermatology Pilgrim Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

In early 2013 I was diagnosed with AIH having presented to my GP two months earlier with painful, swollen joints. I was prescribed prednisolone and azathioprine and had fortnightly blood tests at my GP surgery in my village. My gastroenterologist always emailed me after the tests and advised on adjusting dosage. I had a liver biopsy: the diagnosis was confirmed and cirrhosis discovered. I also had a gastroscopy examination. I later complained to my gastroenterologist of the increasing occurrence and severity of migraine attacks. He changed my drug combination to budesonide and Cellcept and the migraines have almost disappeared. All the above was conducted at Lincoln County Hospital which is a round journey of approx. 60 miles. When I require more medication or I have an OP appointment I have to drive to Lincoln. Most of the time I manage, occasionally I've had to take taxis. My gastroenterologist is excellent, he keeps me informed by email after every blood test, and his secretary has been extremely helpful when I have needed fresh supplies of medication. My condition is still not stable, my gastroenterologist would like to reduce my dependence on steroids, the blood tests are now only every three months. My experience in all departments at Lincoln has been first-class.

A rheumatologist at Pilgrim hospital (26 miles round journey) sees me every six months to monitor my joints. He also arranged for a Dexa bone scan which was done in Boston. As a consequence I now take daily calcium and vitamin D supplements. My small joints continue to cause pain although the swelling is less. During 2013 I took hydroxychloroquine but it seemed to have little effect and was discontinued. During this time I was also monitored by ophthalmology in Boston.

In 2014 I consulted my GP about blood in my faeces, a gastroscopy was carried out at Pilgrim hospital and haemorrhoid ligation carried out. I was discharged.

In 2015 I was referred to dermatology at Pilgrim on my gastroenterologist's advice. Although my serum levels were not elevated I was plagued by itching and very dry skin. I was prescribed emollients, this was followed up after 6 months and now I'm being seen in 12 months.

The care at Pilgrim hospital has been good though the facilities are cramped.