'Normal' waiting time for laparoscopy


First of all, thank you to you all for sharing your experiences, I'm new to this forum and it has helped me to find more info and understand condition better.

I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst (6cm) and suspected endo in April this year having gone to my GP with severe bleeding during my periods and excruciating abdominal pain. I've had a few more appointments back and forth between the Gyne department and the ultrasound scans (my cyst is now over 10cm) and finally been given a provisional date for laparoscopic surgery for November this year.

In the meantime, I have to live with constant pain on my left, pain when opening my bowels and not able to have intercourse properly. I was admitted to A&E last week with pain all over my abdomen but CT scan only revealed my large cyst. Since pain decreased, they sent me home with no further treatment (except one of the gyne doctors that, when asked if I could go privately, seemed more concerned about getting me the number of his private secretary than on relieving my symptoms now.

Is this a normal waiting time (April-November) for a laparoscopy? I think they may be breaching the 18-week referral to treatment policy, but don't know how to raise this.

I am exploring the private option in the meantime as I can't continue with my pain and discomfort, but I would like to know if anyone has had long waiting times in the NHS -and how to raise this, if possible- and any downsides of going private (NB. My sister was born in a private hospital but there were complications during birth, so she -and my mum- were rushed into an ambulance across town to the closest public hospital. Never used private insurance since).

Thanks for your help.

3 Replies

  • It's a tricky one - because it very much depends on the availability of the surgeons you are needing to see. Endo specialists are few and far between compared to a standard Obgyn. And if there extra complications like bladder or bowel involvement then arranging to have all the specialists you will need to co-ordinate their schedules so they can all be on hand at the same theatre, same hospital on the same day, can be a logistical nightmare.

    These same surgeons generally do a mix of private and NHs work, some endo experts also specialise in complex oncology (cancer) surgery too.

    So while you're on the waiting list - cancer or suspected cancer cases will be jumping the ueue ahead of you.

    Then there is simply supply and demand difference from one region of the country to another and local waiting lists vary .

    With cysts - the situation is a bit of grey area in terms of treatment - because watching and monitoring cysts is the 1st line of treatment. A lot of cysts will pop or disappear on their own and because that happens more frequently with cysts than the sort that end up needing surgery to intervene, it could be argued that the monitoring with scans is part of the treatment you are getting.

    At my local hosp getting scans for cysts takes months and months for appointments to come through, such is the backlog. My cyst is mercifully stable and while it hasn't gone it is not a painful angry one like some i have had before.

    As you do have a provisional date - I would suggest you let the surgeons secretary know you are willing to take a short notice earlier slot should one become available. even if they don't have time to work on the endo in the 1st op - getting that angry cyst out will make a huge difference on its own. The remaining endo can be kept in check with period stoppers and pain killers much more effectively than the pains from a large angry cyst. Hope you get seen to sooner rather than later. It is exhausting and frustrating putting life on hold just to be rid of pain and Ican see why you would be tempted by going private.

    There's nothing to stop you making enquiries about private and the costs and time scales involved. If you can afford it then it is an option to weigh up carefully. Getting back to normal and getting back to work may well make the private option worth doing for you.

    It is not ideal that you should be forced to go private to speed things up - but this is the real world and the NHS has a lot of problems in terms of speed to get treatments, so I can certainly appreciate the temptation.

  • My waiting time was nearly a year, it's just depending on the waiting list and the availability of surgeons, I was prescribed codine to help with the pain and although it didn't suppress the pain completely it made it more bearable, along with the standard ibroprofen.

    I finally had my lab beginning of July, the specialist told me I was moved up on the list because of my age as I was only 16. But the waiting time was still just under a year.

    Good luck x

  • Hi, I know this isn't much help to you but I was shocked at your waiting time as when I was told I will be having a lap 2 weeks ago I was told 2-3 months waiting but have recently received my op date and it is for the 7th October.

    Good luck to you

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