"Very dissatisfied with follow up care"

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

After finding a breast lump in April 2013, it took over 12 weeks to finally get the appropriate tests and a diagnosis of breast cancer - this is despite the supposed two week wait that everyone talks about as standard. However, once finally diagnosed I was very happy with the treatment I received. I had my one year mammogram and oncology appointment last October and was all clear. I received a letter from oncology in June 2015 with my appointment for my two year oncology for this October. But by the end of August I had still not received an appointment for a mammogram. I spoke to radiology who told me they were very backlogged but I would definitely get a mammo before my oncology appointment. I again phoned them two weeks ago to be told the same thing. I phoned them again today with just two weeks left before my oncology appointment and was told that no request had been received and all of Octobers slots are now taken and to contact oncology. I phoned the number on my oncology appointment letter and heard a recorded message telling all breast cancer patients to contact their oncologist on one of the following three numbers...

As I have never actually been told who my oncologist is I picked a number at random and decided that whoever answered the phone would be able to tell me. However, I was told that I don't come under oncology and therefore do not have an oncologist. They didn't know why a mammogram request hadn't been sent or even who would be responsible for doing it!

So I still don't have a mammogram appointment and will arrive at my oncology appointment in two weeks (which is a bit strange as I don't come under oncology???!) to discuss the results of a test I have not had. No doubt at this point a request will be sent and I will have the mammogram but as I will already have had my appointment with oncology I will have to wait for another year to discuss the results as letters do not get sent out with mammogram results if you are referred from oncology (unlike the routing breast screening who have their act together enough to actually give you the results!).

The treatment at the Berkshire Cancer Centre is very good but the follow up care and information is woefully inadequate. Having a diagnosis of cancer is one of the most traumatic things to face in life and every year, when called back for check ups, the tensions and worries recur. We spend weeks before our appointments working ourselves up over it, wondering if our world will come crashing down with one sentence from the oncologist. The last thing we need is to be pushed from pillar to post trying to get the most basic of tests done - it really shouldn't be this complicated.

If a department as important as this cannot get the simplest of things right, it doesn't fill you with confidence about your treatment. I belong to a local support group for breast cancer and my story is incredibly familiar.

Not good enough Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

We are very sorry to hear that you are very dissatisfied with your follow-up care here at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

As you are not identifiable from the post on NHS Choices,

I would be very grateful if you could contact me urgently in order that the team can investigate and rectify the current situation for you. Please contact me (Linda Edwards, Matron for the Berkshire Cancer Centre) on 0118 322 5454, with your name, date of birth and if possible hospital number. Many thanks.

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