Just wondered if anyone else is experiencing problems getting appointment dates. I have been having regular 3 monthly appointments with my haematologist, who is normally able to confirm my next appointment within a few days. My health authority has now farmed this out to a private company and 7 weeks later I still have no date.
Clearly they do not think patients have to plan any holidays or anything else. The stress of wondering if I have dropped off the system is begining to grow. Haematology department cannot help as they have had the process taken away and my local PALS has not responded to email or phone calls.
My next blood test is due soon but without a follow up I am in limbo.
Does this situation ring bells with anyone out there and any suggestions ?
Hi @KBull great to hear from you again, although sorry that you have this problem.
I am not aware whether my hospital has farmed appointments out to a private company or not.
Perhaps give PALS a reasonable opportunity to get back to you, if still nothing perhaps it’s an email to the Chief Executive of your hospital asking them to assist and telling them how you have tried to resolve the matter without success.
The Blood Cancer UK support line is there for you if you would like to speak to someone on 0808 2080 888.
Look after yourself
I will try PALS again on Monday.
I read somewhere that Chief Executives are obliged to reply to emails but mine doesn’t.
The hospital have also farmed out typing up of consultants meeting reports. It takes 6 weeks for me to see these and I have concerns about confidentiality with an agency outside the NHS.
I hope you are doing okay this morning? I am sorry to hear you’ve had a lengthy wait for your follow up appointment. You have certainly escalated this in the right way but i do wonder if your local health board has a complaints policy beyond PALS if they are exceeding their response time.
It is also a good idea to continue to raise your concerns in writing with your haematology team to further highlight the length of time you have had to wait for both reassurance & follow up.
As Erica has already mentioned- please do know we are always at the end of the phone should you need to talk things trough- 0808 2080 888.
Best Wishes, Lauran ( support service nurse)
Thanks for your advice. Yes it was 4 weeks ago I contacted PALS and they have been good in the past ( my hospital changed to drop-in for blood tests and were full up at 2pm so I had to go back the following day - they also told me my blood test was not urgent adding insult to injury). I think maybe I am a little over sensitive to these setbacks but ultimately more responsibility is being thrown back on the patient who is already having to cope with a serious condition.
I will let you know how I get on.
I don’t know if it would help but I think NHS patients can choose to go elsewhere under the ‘right to choose’ option. You may have to travel, but it seems to be being used more and more because of the backlog. Maybe worth asking your GP?
Have a read of this too.
Hope you get your appointment soon.
Thanks for your advice. I am getting no further with this but changing to a different hospital would be a big step for me and would involve a lot of decisions, travelling would be an issue because my myeloma has affected mobility.
I have tried again through my haematology but they advised delaying blood test until I get an appointment, however I did not think this was the best option so went ahead this week.
I wrote to the chief executive but his response was to go through PALS which I have already done and got no reply.
This seems a very effective way to reduce appointments waiting list.
Its not just one department either - the same is happening with urology.
We have very little contact with our GP these days - once you have chased them for repeat prescriptions several times it gets very demotivating.
I guess its just the postcode lottery at work as I have friends in other parts of the country who dont have a fraction of these issues.
I feel very much beaten by all this and at times it has become bigger than the health issues I am trying to cope with.
Anyway thanks once again for your kind words.
All the best
A quick update - having not heard back from PALS since early July, I called again today and was told they aim to respond by 6th October. within an hour of my call I received an appointment on the 5th October !
Not sure if this was a coincidence or just the result of 3 months of pushing for something which used to be quite routine. In any case I feel much better for having an appointment confirmed.
For me it has been an exhausting and unnecessary experience I could have done without and it will be interesting to get my consultants comments in person.
Hi @KBull all I shall say is ‘interesting’.
Please do keep updating us and really look after yourself
My problems regarding appointments have become a little clearer. The notice given has been reduced from 12 weeks to “about 6 weeks” . This is to accommodate consultant holidays as this is the notice they are required to give and the hospital wants to avoid postponements.
No issue with this except lack of any communication to patients.
Despite being told by the hospital previously that appointments were being handled by an outside agency I have been reassured this is not the case.
I feel a little easier now the system changes have been explained and I can adjust to them.