"Slip Through The Cracks"

About: Hartlepool PCT

(as a friend),

A very close friend of mine for over 30 years had been going through a period of chronic intestinal discomfort along with constant nausea, vomiting, and an inability to keep solid food down.

This started between 12 and 15 months, my friend had attended their local GP for a diagnosis and treatment at the start of the symptoms, including taking of prescribed medications in an attempt to relieve the situation.

After several months with no relief and attending other GP's the impression my friend was left with at that stage was that it could be "in the mind".

When I found out from my friend several weeks ago about the constant discomfort and an impact on quality of life, I implored my friend to seek specialist help in determining what exactly was wrong.

My friend was finally sent to Hartlepool General Hospital for an endoscopic evaluation. They also took biopsies and the results, when discussed with my friend by the specialist surgeon, was the last thing expected.

My friend was told you have cancer of the stomach and only have a few months to live. Not what one expects after complaining for at least a year via their GP and others.

I feel it is disgraceful that this my friend had to endure these symptoms and discomfort for a year before being diagnosed with cancer. As far as I and other people close to this person feel, this should have been detected much sooner than it was, noting the history and longevity of the symptoms they endured.

I believe if this had been evaluated more thoroughly and a diagnosis confirmed much sooner, then maybe the outcome could have been different. Because of my friend’s advancing years, though they has been in very good health all their life, I feel they have been pushed aside with respect to quality health care and support.

In my opinion this should have been detected much much sooner than it was with a chance that the diagnosis would not have been so severe and certain as it is now.

For me, regardless of how a GP reacts, how busy they are, and all the mundane reasons patients are given in times of crises, it is the GP's responsibility to ensure he/she provides the best guidance and direction for their patients based on the information at hand and the longevity of a particular symptom(s).

In my opinion this situation fell through the cracks. I am very disappointed and angry at a scenario which I believe that should have been taken care of at the start of the symptoms, which in their entirety, to me, clearly showed a necessity for immediate action and remedial testing.

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