"18 weeks? Not in my case"

About: Royal South Hants Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

In around July 2008 I went to my GP because following an arthroscopy, my symptoms persisted. I had received no follow up appointment after my operation.

My GP referred me to the hospital and despite having already been through this rigmarole before undergoing an ineffective operation, the process started all over again. I saw an orthapaedic at a private 'Spire' hospital and was sent for X-Rays and scans on both knees and was quite pleased that this process took only about two months, the scan having been done in September 2008.

I saw the same specialist about six weeks later and discussed the scan results and agreed I needed an arthroscopy on both knees. I asked for a rough idea of a timescale and was told it was unlikely to be before Christmas. I then received a letter from the NHS saying I had been referred to a different specialist and to call and make an appointment. This was around December time.

I was given today's date (14th May) to see the specialist. I enquired as to why I had to see another specialist when I had already been told I needed surgery and wasn't just being booked in for the operation, and was told that this was the surgeon who would be doing the operation and he would have to see me first.

I registered my dissatisfaction with the unacceptable delay and was told not to worry, it wouldn't actually be the May date because the NHS were obliged to see me more quickly than that. Sure enough, in March I was contacted and offered an appointment within the following week that it was impossible for me to attend and I notified the NHS of this. Today I kept my original appointment, only to be told it had been cancelled as it had been brought forward to March.

I lost my temper at this stage and as I was in possession of the scan and letter interpreting it and because I caused a scene, I was fitted in. I had a five minute consultation and was told I'd need surgery. God knows when that will happen.

18 weeks from consulting a GP to having surgery? You're having a laugh. I am not a satisfied customer.

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