Over the last few weeks my left hand has become quite sore and feels bruised and tender at the bottom of my fingers. My ring finger had also started to lock in the bent position and this week has got much worse, locking many times throughout the day and waking me in the night. This morning I decided to ring the Rheumy advice line only to get a recorded message stating they are unable to return any calls or e-mails for the foreseeable future due to a shortage of staff, and to see your GP. I then rang the Doctors Surgery but couldn't get a reply. This was first thing this morning before I had even left home to go work. I tried again mid morning and at lunch but nobody answering. I finally got an answer after trying for nearly an hour when I got home from work this evening. When I requested an appointment with my Doctor, who specialises in Rheumatology, I was told he was booked up until 26th January. I said I would see another Doctor then and was told they had no appointments for the next two weeks. Well that was the last straw. I made it clear I was not angry with her and went on to explain that I had rang the Hospital and told her about the recorded message, she then started laughing, well that was it, I lost it. I told her it was no laughing matter and that I had spent all day trying to get some advice or an appointment, and was disgusted that I couldn't even get anyone to answer the phone. She then apologised and offered me one of three appointments on Monday, and guess who with - only the Doctor I had wanted to see in the first place! So I now have an appointment at 9am on Monday. I was tempted to say something else but managed to thank her politely (whilst biting my tongue). What is going on? it shouldn't be so hard to get an appointment. My patience was definitely tested today! I just hope the Doctor will give me a Cortisone injection into the finger to help release it, I know it will be painful whilst it is done as I had this in my right hand several times before eventually having it surgically released when I had Carpel Tunnel surgery a few years ago now, but it would be worth it to get some relief. Hope everyone else has had a better day. X

8 Replies

  • Can only send hugs. Hope the appointment goes well xx xxx

  • Hugs for a start darlig. When you go to see your dr on Monday and ask to speak to the practice manager and tell her about the receptionist who laughed at your situation. Also contact the PALS office and complain to them about the message on your rheumys phone. This situation is not acceptable and when your speaking to these people threaten to use a&e instead.xxxxx

  • It does make you realise that the poor old NHS is just creaking at its seams, fit to burst. Not enough staff, not enough investment. Personally I would have been inclined to burst out into hysterical laughter too.

    But on the other hand, listening to people (who don't have a long term condition) and their assumption that they can go to A & E to have a cut dressed on their finger, or to the GP with a cough that started makes you realise that those of us with long term conditions do most of our management ourselves. No wonder we get annoyed having struggled to cope we then can't get the help we need.

  • Flipping 'eck Sue. But you just don't need the stress of it all do you? I hope your GP does give you a steroid injection, if he's reluctant recount to him the trouble you've had to get attention, that should work. No it's not a nice place to have an injection but it's soon over & for the relief it gives it's worth the discomfort. Hugs. ((x))

  • Thanks for your replies. I have calmed down now, I was just so annoyed yesterday. I am going to mention all this to the Doctor, there should be someone available to speak to when we need help or advice, without having to get angry lol. X

  • How awful!!! I'm sending you my love and healing thoughts.

    Take care


  • Very frustrating! And yes, I agree it should not be so difficult to get an appointment when we really need one... :( I think the trouble is that there are a lot of people using the NHS who DON'T need it, now taking up a very large proportion of NHS time. Did you know that 70% of GP visits end without the patient getting treatment (including prescriptions and referrals to consultants, etc.), and 40% of A&E visits end without treatment? Of course some of those people may still genuinely need to be seen, but a lot don't. Like oldtimer said, the reason that the NHS is creaking at the seams is not just because of under-funding, but also because people seem much less willing or able to look after themselves...

    As a result, a lot of GPs' receptionists seem to be operating a sort of telephone triage service, making judgments about whether or not your needs are urgent. I suspect you have to know the right things to say to get an urgent appointment. For example, recently, my son (aged 20) was very poorly and I suspected he has bacterial tonsillitis and needed antibiotics; he 'phoned the doc himself and was told there weren't any appointments for 8 days; he came off the 'phone feeling so upset he cried, so I 'phoned back and explained the situation, and he was offered an appointment within 2 hours. I understand they need to try to filter the urgent from the non-urgent cases, but it can't be right that you have to beg or cry or shout or know how to 'play the game' to get an appointment!

  • Yes I agree with you, not to mention the wasted appointments where people just do not turn up. X

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