"MRI / DAT scan results"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Neurology

(as a relative),

I have Parkinson’s Disease, but this story concerns my wife. We live in Shiremoor, Tyne & Wear.

Some time ago she began suffering pain and weakness in her left arm and hand. Now my wife is not one to go to the doctor unless she is “at death’s door”, so when she told me she had a GP appointment (at Shiremoor Resource Centre) I was immediately concerned. That concern was increased when she was referred to the Neurology Clinic at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne. This was against a background of deterioration in her general health; symptoms included being very tired most of the time, feeling sore and achey, slowing down when walking, some unsteadiness on her feet. With knowledge of my own condition I could quite easily paint a worrying picture of my wife's situation. She also works full-time and because of her discomfort she does not drive but relies on public transport to get to and from work. This adds considerably to her working day and her exhaustion.

At her neurology consultation in July with Dr Rinki Singh (one of Dr Duddy’s registrars) it was decided to refer her for MRI and/or DAT scans to aid diagnosis.

The scans (both MRI and DAT) were done on at the end of August and my wife was told to expect scan results / follow-up within 1 to 2 weeks. It is now well into October, and despite her making a telephone call approximately 2 weeks ago to check progress there has been no contact whatsoever. When she made the call, she was given to understand that the scans were “ still being checked“.

Mt wife is not someone who ever likes to complain and has not been keen to pester the NHS. However, I know from my own experience of Parkinson’s diagnosis care that there is no excuse for such a delay. Surely the NHS must realise how upsetting her circumstances are – she is excessively tired, she does not know what is causing her to feel so ill and this uncertainty itself is causing her considerable stress. The service she has received since August is not good enough. I am a huge fan of the NHS – my own care (from Professor Richard Walker’s team at North Tyneside General Hospital) has been nothing short of world-class. I cannot praise the Parkinson’ s Disease Service there too highly.

Why then has it taken so long to provide scan results and offer a follow-up appointment for my wife? Is it because she is a RVI patient? I am extremely annoyed at the delay and at the distress being caused to my wife. Please resolve this immediately and get in touch with her to take forward her diagnosis and care, whatever is causing her to feel so ill.

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Response from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dear scotperu

Many thanks for your kind words about our Parkinson’s Disease service, which we have made Professor Richard Walker and his team aware of.

We’re sorry to hear of your wife’s experiences. The RVI is managed by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is not part of our trust - Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

All hospital trusts in this area do however have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service that is often a very helpful link between patients and hospitals. You can call them free on 0800 032 0202.

Response from The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about your wife’s experiences in the Neurology Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

We are very disappointed to hear that the level of communication about her test results and resulting diagnosis has fallen short of the standard expected. We understand the anxiety that this has caused and apologise for this and also for the delays that she has experienced. Without further details, it is not possible to investigate the reasons for the delays but we are very keen to find out where the problems have occurred, in order that they can be addressed. It would therefore be very useful if your wife could contact Matron Paula Coulson on Paula. Coulson@nuth. co. uk or telephone 0191 233 6161. Thank you in anticipation

Update posted by scotperu (a relative)

I was initially surprised to get a response from NTGH, because the problem was not of their making, but on second thoughts it is typical of their excellent service that they would keep tabs on any issue that involved them, whether positively or negatively!

I did not raise my hopes of a speedy reply from Newcastle - but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I checked progress following an email alert.

I will pass on your advice.