"The consultant that I was referred ..."

About: East Surrey Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

The consultant that I was referred to the doctor who was fantastic. He was kind, thorough and very patient. When I asked him to be honest about whether he thought I could have cancer he was. He got me an MRI scan and provided me with his secretarys extension number so that I could call as soon a I received the date for my MRI scan so that he could provide the results asap.

What could be improved

I was told I would definitely get an MRI scan within 2 weeks of being referred. I received a letter on a Friday, 1 week after the urgent request form was received that said I would have to wait until the 26th. This would have been 3 weeks after they received it! My dad called up and stated that this wasn't good enough. He got the response ''oh ok then how about Monday?'' If they had an appointment in 3 days why didn't they offer it in the first place?

So I called the doctor's secretary. She was away and left a very quiet inaudible answer phone message saying that she would be back on Monday the 17th. I called the hospital operator and explained the urgent need to book this appointment. She put me through to the appointments people. The man in this department told me I would be seen in February 2009! I explained that all I needed was someone to give me the results of my MRI scan and refer me to the appropriate department for treatment. These results would be ready in 1 week. They insisted that I had to wait. I told him that my consultant and GP both suspect I have cancer and that waiting 3 months to find out if I have a terminal disease is unacceptable. With no sympathy at all he told me that only the doctor's secretary would be able to book me in before February so I would have to wait until Monday (yesterday).

I had my MRI scan yesterday so while I was there I returned to the orthopedic department (where I had originally been referred to by my GP and seen the doctor) to see the secretary and book the follow up appointment. The receptionist told me that she was still not back and that according to their system the doctor couldn't see me until April 2009. I explained again that if I do have cancer it could spread across my whole body by April and that it was unacceptable to ask me to wait 5 months especially when considering that the results would be on my file by the 24th of November. Continued below..

Anything else?

I was told again that I had to speak to his secretary as she was the only person who could amend his appointments. So I waited until Tuesday (today). I FINALLY get to speak to her and she tells me that she will request an appointment from the hospital staff that over see them and I will receive an appointment by post. I told her that I had already spoken to them and they told me to speak to her otherwise I wouldn't get seen for 5 months. She tells me that she cannot amend the appointments but they can. I had to BEG her to ask the doctor about me so that he could confirm that he wants to see me ASAP so that we can find out whether I have cancer or not. She finally agreed to do this but said I would have to wait until tomorrow afternoon as he was busy today.

I'm TERRIFIED that I have a terminal disease and that the I will not be able to see anybody that can confirm this or treat me because I am being sent round in circles. If I do have cancer I am concerned that I will die before anybody sees me. That is no exaggeration. I am crying everyday with the frustration of not knowing.

Can somebody please please help me?

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from East Surrey Hospital

We are very sorry to hear of your concerns.

Please be assured that as soon as test results are received by the requesting clinician they are prioritised according to clinical need and patients are informed and appointments are made, as necessary and as appropriate.

In the meantime, the Patient Advice & Liaison Services (PALS)from the Trust will be contacting you further in the near future.

With kind regards and best wishes.

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