"Waiting times for consultant appointment"

About: Christchurch Hospital / Dermatology

(as the patient),

My GP referred me as urgent to the dermatology consultant. The earliest appointment is in January (ie three month's time). The letter with the invitation to book the appointment says that under the NHS Constitution 'where cancer is suspected' I should see a specialist within two weeks. So where a patient has actually got cancer (thankfully in my case one that rarely metastasises), the NHS waiting time is 18 weeks. I'm sure that the care and treatment will be excellent when I get it, but perhaps the NHS could review the logic of its waiting list policy.

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Response from Sue Mellor, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Dear Dorset 1

Thank you for taking the time to post your experience regarding the dermatology appointments and I would like you to know that I have spoken this morning with the Associate Director who manages the Cancer Services.

We are aware of the current delays and would like to explain, hopefully to offer you some reassurance. When a GP refers a patient they have several options, there is a fast track option as you mentioned to be seen within 2 weeks and an urgent option which we endeavour to see in clinic within 4-6 weeks.

I understand from your posting that you have been referred as an urgent.

At present due to a consultant vacancy in Dermatology we are struggling to meet our current demands and thus waits are a little longer than they would be normally. In an effort to reduce the delays and impact on our patients the other Consultants are running extra clinics, and I apologise that this has had an impact on yourself and obviously other patients presently been referred to this service.

I do understand your frustrations and concerns, so if you would like to discuss these any further please do contact our PALS on 01202 704886, or you may wish to return to your GP for more information and advice. We do hope to see you soon

Regards Sue

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