"9 week wait for ECG & 10 min appt with a Nursing..."

About: Watford General Hospital

I was first referred to the Rapid Access Chest Pain inc exercise ECG unit in mid-May but only got called when my GP requested the appt again two weeks ago; possibly a system/process problem but had the problem been serious a potentially fatal one. This needs to be looked at. My anticipation was a deeper inspection of intermittent chest pains, following significant chemotherapy a few years earlier at a quite mature age, with a consultant. Instead I got an ECG and ten minutes of questions with a Cardiology Nursing Specialist who the technician doing the ECG described as 'the doctor'. After questions I was told that I was low risk and as the pains that I had experienced had not occurred during exercise they were unlikely to be anything significant. When I queried my GP's expectation that I would undergo more sensitive tests that might find/eliminate more subtle problems, I was advised that the treadmill ECG was the only likely test and this was no longer seen as useful as it threw up too many false positives. However, the nurse/specialist said they would discuss my case with the consultant tomorrow! So I guess I had no chance of seeing anyone today anyway. A quick shuffle through my file showed a stress echo test three and a half years previously when taken in overnight with chest pains following my chemo; as this was good then it was seen as a positive today! I now need to explain to my excellent GP what referral to this area means as it did not meet their expectation nor mine from the appointment letter.. I have had brilliant NHS treatment from a number of hospitals/departments and am a great supporter of the NHS. However, there are sometimes episodes that do not meet expectations and this was one of them.

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