"Long wait for assessment of arthritis"

About: Bolton PCT

(as a friend),

My partner has been ill for some time. She went to the Surgery in Kearsly and saw a Doctor who refused to examine her. She got the run around for ages and was finally diagnosed weeks later.

She now has been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and has been told she will have to wait nine weeks to see anyone. She has just spent four days in bed at home and has not been able to eat at all.

The attitude of your healthcare professionals is a disgrace.

In my opinion the NHS in Bolton have treated my partner disgracefully.

I wonder if the reason for the nine week wait was because of illness as we were told or was it because its August?I am furious.

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Response from

We are very sorry to read of your concern, posted by yourself on behalf of your partner, in respect of the Rheumatology Service.

In response, firstly can I apologise for the delay your partner has experienced, in accessing an appointment and with the poor attitude of the healthcare professionals.

The Rheumatology Service has experienced an unprecedented amount of sudden staff sickness and our usual fast access times have been compromised as a result. We understand this is an unacceptable position and in order to address this situation, an action plan has been drawn up and implemented.

One of the actions is to secure the services of an additional Rheumatology Consultant and we are pleased to report that we have identified a suitable clinician and have agreed a start date, in accordance with his earliest availability.

With limited details from your posting, it is difficult to look into your partner's individual case and concerns but we would be pleased to undertake this, should you so wish.

The Service manager is Ms Lesley Anne Fraser and she can be contacted by telephone on 01024 462855 or at her base, Lever Chambers Centre for Health, Ashburner Street, Bolton, BL1 1SQ.

Ms Fraser will then be in a position to bring the referral information and any additional details you may share, to the attention of the Lead Rheumatology Consultant and, from this, identify how the service may appropriately respond to your partner's clinical need. She will also undertake an investigation into the concern raised about poor attitude of the healthcare professionals and address this.

Once again, please accept our apologies and assurance that we will endeavour to rectify the situation.

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Update posted by Franklin (a friend)

Just to follow up:

My partner was seen today by the Specialist Doctor regarding her R Arthritis. Fortunately, that is being dealt with at last.

She has also been to her local Kearsley practise to see her Doctor for an examination (see my original post), regarding some bleeding from her Vagina. She had noticed this and was concerned. Her surgery said on Monday that the earliest that she could be seen was Thursday as there was only one Lady Doctor and no appointments. Obviously, we are worried by this delay. From our experience, ladies beware or be prepared to shout loudly.

The PALS team are lovely people, but in my experience have very little sway, if any.