Arthritis and the NHS from a Newbie

Hi Everyone,

I'm a newbie on this forum but I'm also on the BLF forum. My husband was a carpet cleaner for 25 years and, as a result, has developed osteoarthritis in his neck, foot and back. The pain got so severe that he was referred to a consultant at St George's Hospital in Tooting and went to an appointment on 8th December, was sent for a MRI scan on 4th January and was told he would be reffered to spinal and foot specialists and to physiotheray. So far so good.

He had the MRI scan then nothing. Then more nothing. We tried to get some information and finally managed to talk to the original consultant's secretary who confirmed that the referrals had been sent out. So we waited, and waited. He finally got an appointment in February to see the foot specialist in April. OK, that's fine but it's his back which is giving him the worst pain and we were still unable to get the MRI results nor an appointment. We did finally get to see the letter from the original consultant who diagnosed 'severe lumbar spondylosis' - what is that? - and after more chasing by phone and email he finally got an appointment for 11 July!!!! Is this normal? Seven months later? We've still heard nothing about the physiotherapy and when we phone the relevant department they tell us that they haven't received a referral.

We're now pulling out our hair so I bit the bullet and made him a private appointment with the same spinal surgeon. This took one email on Wednesday but he's booked in to see him on Tuesday. Result, but we're £250 out of pocket!

Sorry to sound so moany but is this the norm? I know the NHS are under pressure but 7 months from initial diagnosis to NHS appointment seems a bit much. Do you agree or is this what we should expect?

Many thanks for your time.

3 Replies

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  • Hi. I am Phil and apart from Osteo Arthritis in all joints I have Spondylosis of the neck and a year ago had a near death experience with Sepsis. I personally think your wait time and all the 'Lack of Information' you have experienced are, in my opinion, waiting too long. I have a good Trust in Nottingham and rapid response to most problems. I would suggest you go back to G.P. and ask that your husband have an urgent re-assessment as it is causing other underlying problems such as low mood etc. If you feel it is still not receiving a reasonable time to further any investigations try writing to the Hospital PATIENT ADVICE LINE SERVICES (PALS) or the Trust itself outlining your husbands case.

    Good Luck and let me know how things go

    Best wishes

    Phil

  • Hi Phil,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply and I'm sorry to hear that you are also going through the wars! We will write to PALS and also take advice from the specialist who my husband is seeing privately this afternoon.

    I'll keep you informed.

    Best wishes,

    Tamsin

  • Hi Tamsin. Best of luck for later. I know that there are waiting times for treatment but that does not excuse an apparent waiting time in your area for good contact and good and reasonable time lines to reply to Patients questions. Trusts, Hospitals, Clinics etc. do need to be made more aware of this as many patients, such as myself, also suffer from mental health problems and being kept up to date with any issue is very important as part of our recovery.

    Best wishes

    Phil

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