Frustration with medical secretaries

Hi,
Just need to work off a bit of frustration.

At beginning of August I had my three monthly blood tests for mgus done and emailed the secretaries and asked them to let my consultant know that I had done them and could they book me a follow up appointment. Previously the appointment letter has arrived well ahead of doing the bloods but not this time. The secretaries did book me an appointment , but it is with a different consultant and not until September 20. Spent some time trying to ring the secretaries without success and so have sent another email. I am a little worried about this, as I dont want to be seeing a different person at each appointment. This has happened to me before and it doesnt result in a great quality of care.
Helen

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Oh @helenfwallace yes, you get off a bit of stress, hassle and frustration.
Yes, I have found appointments are coming out at all different dates and with all different consultants.
I think we get in the clinicians v admin syndrome.
I actually have had the reverse experience when seeing a different clinician. I have found the ‘medical team’ have had a meeting to review cases beforehand so everyone knows the case and its history and pooled their opinions. The consultant I then see knows what has gone on and also acts as a second opinion. Perhaps I have been lucky and I am so sorry that this has not been your experience.
I also found that I am the expert on myself and I often have to remind clinicians of my other relevant issues.
Please don’t give up and keep fighting your corner (although you should not have to) and please keep airing your frustrations on here.
Look after and be kind to yourself and please let us know how you get on.

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Hi Erica,

Thank you for replying. I hope you are keeping well too.

Actually my first experience with the Haematology Team was rather funny. I had three first appointments with three different consultants on consecutive days by video call. I must say they were all very nice, but it was a ridiculous situation!

Best wishes
Helen

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Oh @helenfwallace I had to laugh, ‘the 3 wise men’ springs to mind.
I bet we could all tell some tales about our interactions with the medical profession !!!
Yes, I am doing well, thanks for asking.
You look after yourself as well.

There has been a big change in our haematology team 4 consultants left at the same time including mine of 5 years and we have been left in limbo of who we will be under we may have to travel to see a consultant Worcester/Birmingham/Gloucester
I have seen two locum consultants so far
The second one I really like and have asked her if I can see her again which she has done and booked an appointment for when she is in

It’s been an upheaval especially after a stem cell transplant and not having my consultant available
She knew me well and now I have to go through the last few years each time it’s someone new
It’s stressful and I have had a couple of tears about it.

Hopefully this consultant will become the one I can bond with as it’s really important

I have to say the secretaries have been marvellous picking up the pieces and having to put up with the constant ringing of us patients having an uncertain time
I do feel for them
The trust should never have allowed 4 consultants to be leaving at the same time with no plan in place or do it seems

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Hi DB,

Thanks for posted. How dreadful for you, and stressful for you. I really glad that your medical secretaries have “picked up the pieces” and hope that you can continue to see the locum you like.

I am worried about whether my consultant has left and moved to pastures new. I think I might do a linkedin search as she doesnt appear in the hospital staff directory. I really hope my situation is an admin error or simply “annual leave”. My worst fear is that a change in consultant may lead to being discharged for monitoring by GP.

Good luck and look after yourself
Helen

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Bless you

The team of haematologist that we did have I got to know and that worked if I had to see one of the others if my consultant was away for any reason
I met most of them through being in hospital with sickness having chemo and they had a good knowledge of my history
They have all gone.

I do hope your consultant is on annual leave and that your just seeing one of the team.

I spoke to my GP about it on my cancer review care and I got a bit upset and she said that anything I want to know or any issues with bloods to ring the surgery
It may be worth a chat with your GP

You take care of yourself
X

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We all know that the NHS is not a perfect beast @helenfwallace especially after Covid and I can identify with your frustration that sometimes people seem to go out of their way to make things more difficult. I used to get a different doctor at my bedside every day when in hospital and was constantly having to give the same information every time I spoke to someone. Hope things improve for you.

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As a med sec, its quite hard as there are still staff working from home and there seems to be a lot of staff leaving since covid started. I cant speak for your consultant but ours dictate appointments etc so getting an appointment with a different doctor might have come from the doctor themselves allocating you to see a different person this time for a variety of reasons. We often have the bad press when decisions are ultimately made by the doctors and managers. Its hard to get continuity of care since covid because of many different reasons. I personally hate ‘protected typing time’ etc and never do it as i know how frustrating it is having been on the opposite side and i would suggest putting your concerns into an email with a read receipt attached. I hope you can get to see the consultant you normally see but honestly, its not always the sec’s decision. Before clinics, a forecast is given showing what appointments etc are available etc and it maybe that the consultant is stretched to the limit. There are some crappy sec’s giving us a bad name so i do hope that it is how we run things rather than somebody who cant be arsed picking up a phone etc x

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Hi Franko, thank you for your thoughts. Take care of yourself, Helen

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Hi Shazbattyboo,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts from a medical secretary point of view. Yes, normally the consultant does drive the appointment. Usually I get a blood form, followed by an appointment letter, and clinic letter. This time that didnt happen. The past cannot be changed. Hopefully , I will hear back from the secretaries shortly.

Take care, Helen

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I am pleased to say I managed to speak to a medical secretary today and was told that my usual consultant was on call which was why appointment was booked with someone else. So I am relieved that she hasnt left! So somewhat happier.
Helen

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Thanks so much @Shazbattyboo and a great big welcome to our forum, yes, I also have 2 completely separate, long service, medical secretary friends and they would echo your words completely.
I hope you don’t mind me asking do you have a blood cancer yourself or are you a family member, friend or carer of someone with a blood cancer as I would really like to know more about you.
Look after yourself