"Cardiac Tests"

About: Whipps Cross University Hospital

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Sorry in advance - this isn't going to be a good one. Towards the end of April 2013, I had chest pains on the treadmill at the gym, and went to the rapid access chest clinic at Whipps cross. I was referred on by the cardiac nurse there for a calcium score scan 3 weeks later. This came back slightly elevated, so I was referred for a Myocardial Perfusion scan. This is what followed: I was told the wait would be around 4 weeks. After 2 months, I still hadn't heard anything so I called in, and found out that they had forgotten to add me to the list. They added me, and then I had to wait another month for the scan. When I had the scan, the nurse spilt a lot of the radioactive isotope onto the floor mid injection. I had the scan anyway, and the results (I was told) were pretty sketchy, but I was 'probably OK'. I was told that I should come back anyway however for a second (resting) scan a week later and that someone would be in touch before the end of the day. No one called back. Over the next 2 weeks, I called the dept 5 times to get another appointment. Each time I was told someone would call, and each time no one did. Eventually after 3 weeks, I managed to get in for another scan. After the scan, I waited 2 more weeks and called back again. This time I was told that someone should have called as there was something wrong and I should go for an angiogram. The cardiac nurse did not understand why I had not been contacted. If I hadn't called, I have no doubt that no one would have contacted me. The overall impression I have got over the last 5 (!!) months is that I am on a conveyor belt being shunted around from dept to dept, with no one overseeing the whole thing to make sure everything is OK (except myself). Now my GP surgery had gone over to telephone appointments, I have had the opportunity to actually sit down and talk to someone just once in the last 5 months about what is for me a very worrying situation. The rest has just been a load of letters, photocopied leaflets and appointments. All very impersonal. If I have a suspected heart condition and I am being sent for potentially risky tests, I want to speak to a cardiologist, in person. If I hadn't taken it on to myself to badger people, I am positive no one would have followed up. I also think 5 months for 3 relatively straightforward tests is way too long. The upshot of all this is that I now have to go back for an angiogram next month, and frankly, going on performance so far, I find the prospect terrifying.

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