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"Referral and waiting times for plastic surgery"

About: Canniesburn Hospital Glasgow Royal Infirmary / Plastic Surgery & Burns

(as the patient),

After a very serious illness in October 2010, I am left with lots of scars stretch marks and lose skin from being so swollen, I am 17 and it really gets me down, I have no self confidence and as a result it stops me from doing things a normal 17 year old should be enjoying! My GP suggested a referral to Canniesburn plastic surgery unit and my consultant wrote me a 'heartfelt plea' considering I’ve made so much effort to lose more weight and exercise every night, I'm the fittest I've ever been however I can see no results because of my issue.

My referral was made and I realise that plastic surgery is not just given out right left and centre by the NHS, however I heard nothing for months, waiting for so long, hearing nothing when you have an issue like mine is pretty much unbearable, during this period of time I went to see my GP on numerous occasions and she chased up the referral.

The whole time I was referred to as an 'exceptional circumstance' which makes me feel like I have no right to request this surgery.

So after 8 months of waiting I finally got a letter through saying that I have been placed on a 16 month waiting list for clinical psychology and there is no guarantee that after this appointment I will get anywhere near a surgeon for a consultation at least. This letter really distressed me.

My parents made the decision to ask to see a consultant privately which cost a lot of money, just so I could finally speak to someone who knows what they are doing, and last night I had that opportunity, The surgeon recommended a full abdominoplasty which would cost almost 6000 pounds, which for anyone with normal jobs is a rather drastic amount of money. Even with the surgery risks explained to me etc it is definitely something I want done.

I think however, it is shocking that anyone in my state with an issue like this should have to wait so long on even hearing anything back, I understand plastics is different to any other referral system. I have researched many stories about plastic surgery on the NHS and sometimes I feel priority is gained by those who do not need it most, and I am not for one minute stating that there are people out there who don't need to be seen as urgently as me, I understand that there are people so much worse off than myself, however I am just unhappy with the length of time I’ve had to wait for nothing to be done by the public service.

What step my family and I take next will have to be discussed, but hopefully something good comes of the NHS referral, it would change my life for the better.