"Still waiting"

About: West Middlesex University Hospital

Having discovered a problem with my breast (a small, painful lump at skin level) during pregnancy, I was relieved to receive a quick referral to the breast clinic by my GP. In the cloud of anxiety that I'm sure every woman feels in these circumstances I attended the hospital, with the guidelines that had been posted to me in my hand, fully expecting a thorough examination and, if necessary, mammogram/ultrasound etc as had been described in the notes. The breast exam I was given was brief, less than a minute, no raising of arms, and not comparable with past experience. I want to be reassured by the doctor's words, but in reality I don't know if this is something I should be concerned about. I was told while there was no obvious cause for concern, I would need an ultrasound and further consultation. Nearly two weeks later I am none the wiser as to when this will be. I am seven months pregnant and worried for many inevitable reasons - on a simple practical level, as it stands I'm not sure if this sore lump is going to impact on my ability to breastfeed. I called the department and was told there is a 'backlog', I haven't even been scheduled for an appointment yet. I'm aware of the strains on the NHS, and am sure there are women with far greater worries than mine. However, I did understand that NHS guidelines indicated that a patient in these circumstances should be seen within two weeks - if the brief appointment I had is supposed to fulfill this requirement then it is little more than a box ticking exercise.

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Response from West Middlesex University Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate that you are understandably anxious following your experiences. Without knowing the full details of your referral and appointment it is difficult to give a response but we would encourage you to get in touch via our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so that they can investigate and respond to you properly. Please contact pals.service@wmuh.nhs.uk / 020 8321 6261.

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