Appointment with consultant (finally!!)

Well I've finally got an appointment to see the RA consultant this Wednesday ... only seven months after I should have had one. Is the NHS in rest of the country as bad as it is down here in the South West? Anyway, I was just wondering whether anybody had any tips on how to stay focused during the appointment as I find that I nearly always end up forgetting loads of things I meant to discuss and getting into friendly banter with the consultant instead of staying focused on why I'm there and my problems. I get very annoyed with myself afterwards. Thanks

12 Replies

  • Hi Glynisdyson

    The answer to your first question is no, I live in Birmingham and have always been more than happy with the Rheumatology team I see. Although like the rest of the NHS they are starting to feel the pinch.

    Onto your appointment. Can you take someone with you? If not get in touch with the local PALS. I think they offer a chaperone service where possible.

    Other people see and hear things we miss, are not thrown by unexpected information and are sometimes not as emotionally invested as we are.

    Write down a list of things you wish to talk about and take it with you. Otherwise you will forget something. Questions, concerns, next steps, meds, side-effects, prognosis etc. Start it now, not the morning of your appointment. I constantly think of things I want to ask and always forget them if not written down.

    Get there in good time. Remember how difficult parking is at most hospitals. In fact work out your travel before hand. Nothing worse than the stress of being late to make you flustered and forgetful!

    Remember that they are your doctor not your friend. You aren't going for a chat, although I know what you mean about getting g sidetracked.

    That's the best I got for now.

    Good luck with your appointment.


  • Yes it is! By the time I get to see my Rheumatologist it will be a year - had 3 cancelled appointments. I've now written to him and said this is a letter appointment and could he put in now for an orthopaedic app as I am sure there will be cancellations in that dept too! I don't suppose I'll get a reply! I. Copied my Dr in as well. I'm that hacked of with the NAH at the mo grrr.........

  • Ps I always make a list of any questions now in case I forget any. I do get a report letter after the appointment. Though sometimes that comes back with errors!

  • Hi.

    I'm in mid Wales so my rheumy is across the border in Shropshire.The appointments system works very well and I also have a phone number that I can contact 24/7 in case of any problems and on a couple of occasions I have been fitted in at a moments notice so no complaints on that front.

    My only grizzle with them is that you break an arm and a leg to get to the appointment about 10 minutes before you are due,and then find there is a note on the White board stating that the appointments are running late sometimes as much as 90 mins.

    With regards the appointment Ade is quite right with all his advice on there.I usually take my husband with me.He can often remember things I can't and sometimes I understand them differently,so two pairs of ears are definitely better than one.

    Also with another person in the room you may not be so inclined to get sidetracked.Get started on your list as soon as possible and keep it in your hand in the appointment to remind yourself of why you are there.

    Don't do what I have done before now and left it stuffed in a side pocket of my handbag and left it in the car !!

    Hope all goes well with your appointment.



  • Thank you all for your positive responses (except those relating to delays in the NHS of course). I think a list is a great idea, although I can imagine the consultant groaning inwardly as I do so. Still, they get paid enough to listen so why shouldn't I? I agree about the waiting at appointments. I don't think I've waited less than 45 minutes to see the consultant in the past. I've also had two appointments cancelled due to the junior doctors' strike. So it's even more important to get everything discussed during the session. Thank you so much again for getting back to me. I will begin a list now and make a promise to myself to stay focused. Wish me luck.

  • Wishing you all the luck in the world Glynisdyson so make the best use of it.



  • No worries 😊

    I don't think they mind you taking a list (and even as Kai suggests recording the appointment), it is fairly standard advice so they are very used to it. They also understand more than we think about the foibles of the human mind, and indeed human nature. If the boot was on the other foot....

    I try not to get frustrated about having to wait even if I'm early and they're (very) late. I would be interested to know how many 'extra' minutes I have had off consultants over the years. We expect them to listen when we want to talk, we can't really complain if they listen to all those that are before us on the day. And when I've been really desperate the good doctor has even left clinic to fit me in or speak on the phone. I have no complaints at all.

    Not with them, more with our glorious leaders for not giving them adequate funding to do their jobs and for the idiotic electorate (present company excepted 😀) for not demanding more be spent on the NHS and accepting that we all need to pay for it. Those that can afford it mostly pay the most as well, apart perhaps from a few super-rich tax dodgers.

    Also if they made the appointment times any longer we would all have to wait even longer for out appointments in the first place. I can't remember the exact figures, but the ratio of consultant rheumatologists to population is amazingly against them. In the hundreds of thousands to one if I recall correctly.

    I hope you get the answers you want.

    Good luck


  • Take someone with you - especially for a first appointmeht, as there will be a lot that you need to remember to say, and you want to make sure you remember what is said.

  • Hi

    Lots of good suggestions in all of the posts here but just wanted to add that, as time is always precious and too short, it is a good idea to write your list and then look carefully at it and prioritise the most important parts to ensure that these are covered in your appointment.

    Hope all goes well.


  • Thank y ou.

  • It was 5 months before I saw a consultant when we moves but before that it was over a year before I found a doctor who believed me and she found out i had RA.

    I found to write bullet points down and keep a day to day diary and GIVE it to the consultant to read (hopefully) !!

  • Simple - take a pen and pad.

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