"GP referral to Consultant diagnosis"

About: Borders General Hospital / Neurology

(as the patient),

Earlier this year, I presented to my GP with a limp which had been getting worse over a six month period.

After examining me, the GP immediately requested an MRI scan. There followed a sequence of wait four weeks for the scan, another wait of four weeks for a neurologist consultation, wait four more weeks for a further scan, and then wait a further four weeks for a second consultation, at which point, the consultant decided that yet another MRI scan plus lumbar puncture and EMG/NCV test were required urgently. Admitted to hospital ward at noon on a Monday. Taken for MRI scan 28 hrs later. Taken for lumbar puncture 21 hrs after that.

I was then informed EMG test would now delayed, due to an unchecked holiday rota, and was invited to remain bed blocking in the ward for the remainder of the week, over the weekend and an unspecified number of further days until I could be fitted in.

I elected instead to return home following which the EMG test was conducted three weeks later, with a final consultation and diagnosis of untreatable condition one week later. Thus five months to conduct five tests and three consultations. I have no concerns about the competency of the professionals, and no doubt all procedures were followed, minimum standards met and boxes ticked, but it is difficult to imagine a more bureaucratically driven, logistically inept example of inefficient and unplanned resource usage, resulting in the patient's condition being allowed to deteriorate very significantly before being able to start making plans and provision for the future.

It certainly makes a mockery of the newly announced patient's legal right to receive treatment within twelve weeks of diagnosis.

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Response from Stephen Bermingham, NHS Borders

We are sorry to hear about your experience of accessing NHS Borders services. We would appreciate it if you could call Susan Cowe (Complaints Officer) on 01896 826714, this will give us the opportunity to discuss your concerns and to make things better in the future.

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