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New referral

Hi all

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2013 and saw the rheumatologist. He seemed like a nice bloke etc. but he didn't even examine me. I took mtx with sulfasalazine which did not really help me. He told me I should be on biologics, filled in some form. But by next app he forgot about that. I started having other symptoms and was told by gp could be ms. I basically had a nervous break down waiting to see neurologist. My rheumatologist just dismissed any concerns I had, my gp agreed he was rubbish.

Anyway no ms, relief. I basically gave up on the rheumatologist and my gp. Could not get an app with my gp for love nor money. I have changed surgeries and now I want a new rheumatologist at a different hospital. Has anyone ever done this? Did you have problems getting re-referred I am worried they will have a go at me for not attending my last rheumatology appointment


3 Replies

Hi there.  I've done this.  You have the right under the NHS to request a referral to a consultant of your choice.  You have to go through your GP.  I asked my GP for suggestions and they came up with 3 names, all in different hospitals.  2 of the 3 were in different CCGs, different areas.  I picked one after looking at his profile which most (all?) consultants have on their hospital's websites.  The upshot is that I now travel for about 45 minutes for appointments but it is well worth it.  Seriously, I'd travel all day to see an excellent rheumatologist, which he is.  It also means that the CCG area in which I live funds my Humira although the hospital is in a different area.  That hasn't caused any problems.

As regards upsetting anybody, I think it's as well not to diss your old rheumy to your new one.  Theoretically all you're doing is seeking a second opinion.  You can say something bland such as 'I'm seeking better continuity of care'.  My new rheumy did ask why I'd sought a referral to him so I just muttered incoherently.  Which wasn't difficult as I was struck dumb, I was that frightened of having my symptoms dismissed again.  But as soon as he examined me & saw the state I was in he stopped asking.  

As you have PsA, it might be worth considering asking for a referral to one of the two centres of excellence for PsA in the UK.  One is the Bath Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, the other is in Leeds, I can find the name if you like.  Both have consultants who are real experts in the field.  I got lucky with my rheumy but I hadn't heard about those hospitals then ... I think if I had I'd have plumped for Bath, probably, even though it would be a long trip.  

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When you talk to your new GP about a new referral to rheumatology, be honest about how stressed you were with the MS scare and the way you were treated, and say you would just like to start again with someone who can hopefully explain things better to you, and get you onto the right treatment.  I am sure they will understand.

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The GP should refer you. If you tell people here where you are there maybe people with experience of someone near you. I think NRAS ask you to message names. That's how I found my current Rheumy. I've experience in Oxford and Edinburgh if that's any good

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