"Refused a scan at the Royal London in what was a suspected miscarriage of a high risk pregnancy"

About: The Royal London Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

Background: After over ten years of trying to conceive, including four failed IVF attempts and a failed donor egg implantation, I got pregnant during my second attempt at using donor eggs. This is my first pregnancy at 46 years of age.

The evening of one Thursday at the start of October , worried as a result of some blood spots and pains in the stomach, I called the NHS hotline. I was called back by the out of hours GP the Royal London and asked to immediately come in for a visit. The GP on call wanted to ensure it was not a miscarriage and tried to arrange a scan. He got told we would receive a call in the morning between 8 and 10am, hoping they would be able to fit us in on Friday or at the latest on Saturday. He stressed that if it was a miscarriage, there was nothing we could do to stop it, but at least, we would know. Needless to say, we were very worried.

The following morning, on Friday, we were promptly called by the gynaecology department at the Royal London Hospital and informed that there were slots available, but in order to book a scan, we needed a referral letter. We immediately made our way to the out of hours GP and requested such a letter, but their printer (and their computer system) was out of order. They tried to arrange the scan by speaking directly to the gynaecologist on call who rejected the referral and informed us to go to A&E in case there was further bleeding!

We immediately made our way to our GP, who despite us not having an appointment, found time to see us. He immediately called the Royal London Hospital, in an attempt to book the scan. He explained he distress we were under, unaware of the outcome of the previous evening’s blood patches. Once again, probably the same gynaecologist, refused the referral. We had to privately get a scan and check-up to get the assurance everything was in order!

At 46 years of age and considering the history, this is a high-risk pregnancy. The distress of being refused the referral to know if it was a miscarriage is according to all other doctors I have spoken to reason enough to trigger a miscarriage! The state we were left in, with no information and being forced to go private to get the reassurances we so desperately needed is not the reason I pay my national insurance, and certainly not the level of care I would expect from the NHS. Whilst the GPs went beyond their call of duty, the system is unfortunately as strong as its weakest link.

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