"Communication between the doctor's surgery, me and BUPA"

About: West Sussex PCT

(as the patient),

The story still has not finished, but I am despaired. I am concerned about my health problem and that I can't get a recommended referral to be booked in.

When I come to see a doctor about some unusual symptoms I was experiencing, I was recommended to see a specialist. I have a private medical insurance cover which I never used before. I thought arranging an appointment through the private channel would be quicker. The GP sent a letter to the "private" hospital and meanwhile I contacted BUPA regarding the authorization of the treatment.

BUPA told me that to authorize the treatment they need to send a form to the GP and upon receiving the completed form the treatment can be authorized, This happened mid April 2011

One week later I've called BUPA again to find out if the response form the practice was received. As it was not received BUPA recommended I contact the practice, which I did. The answer machine in the practice suggested I press "3" if my query is to do with private treatment arrangements. After pressing "3", the answer machine told me that the lady who deals with these matters only works Moday, Wednesday, Friday and that I should leave a message.

As I happened to call on Thursday, I left a message asking to call me back.

Not receiving any calls back, I called again the following Friday. Unfortunately I called straight after lunch and the lady happened to work only Friday mornings, so I left another message and asked to call back.

As nobody called me back again I went to the surgery a week later. I spoke to a secretary who's taken my contact details and assured me that I will be contacted the following day.

As nobody contacted me the following day which was last Friday, I went to the practice again today and finally!!! met the person who suppose to deal with private treatment matters.

After a lengthy conversation we finally established that the surgery did not receive the form from BUPA. There were no comments on why I was not contacted and also I did not receive any apologies. I've asked the lady to call BUPA which she did and she requested another form to be faxed from BUPA.

Concerning what I still don't have an appointment with the specialist, I've asked if I can have an NHS referral as well, so I can wait for whatever comes first. The lady who could clarify this question for me was at lunch, so I had to leave the surgery under an assurance that I will be contacted later today about both NHS referral as well as a confirmation that the form from BUPA been received.

Indeed I was contacted later with the information that the form has not been received and that NHS referral cannot be arranged in parallel with the private one and I need to decide one or another.

At this point I become totally lost as I do need to see a specialist and I am just losing weeks without even having an appointment lined up.

I've asked to speak to a manager.

The manager's response straight away was that I need to understand that this is nothing to do with Practice, it was BUPA's fault that they did not send the form.

On my question why I have not been contacted despite my several requests, the answer was: we are sorry for this, but you need to take this with BUPA why they did not send the form. On my question how I suppose to know that BUPA did not send the form if I was not contacted in the first place, the answer was that due to Easter and Royal wedding the Practice still have a back log of queries and priorities are to deal with NHS treatments and all the private treatment matters are dealt on top of their normal duties after all NHS queries are dealt with and that this should have been explained to me by BUPA and that it's totally their fault that they did not send the form through and that I need to take this with them.

I called BUPA again. They said that indeed they registered the call from the practice earlier today and they faxed a form straight away. I've asked them to fax the form again as the practice doesn't appear to have received it and I also asked to fax a duplicate to my workplace fax number. Sure enough 10 minutes later I've received the faxed from BUPA. My belief is that the fax was also been sent to the Practice.

Now I am facing conversation with the practice again why they did not receive the fax as I did. Is it a problem with their fax machine??? Do I really need to be involved in this conversations??? I am just a patient!

I am totally lost here. The practice doesn't appear to want to help me in this situation. The only thing they want to do is to defend themselves that it's not their fault. And I just want to see a specialist as soon as possible. Doesn't matter private or NHS!!

Sorry, it's a bit lengthy. Is there anybody who knows how to get a decent customer (patient) service from NHS?

And, by the way, I was always happy with this Practice before. I really did not expect such indifference.

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