No appointment available!

I saw my consultant last December, she stopped methotrexate because I was coughing and she heard crackles in my lungs.She requested CT scan and other tests and requested to see me in February.Early in February she wrote to say that I have early Pulmonary Fibrosis and referred me to lung specialist.My appointment with rheumatology for February was subsequently cancelled and I was given one for June.This appointment was also cancelled and her secretary said that they have no further appointments available as the consultant is on long term sick leave.My RA has got worse and Sulphasalzine and steroids are no longer working. I have complained but Colchester Hospital cannot offer any appointments for now. I have made enquiries but it will cost £200 to see a Rheumatologist privately.What are we supposed to do? What is happening to our NHS? Luckily I am 70 and not working but I am really struggling.

9 Replies

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  • Do they not have to offer you an appointment in another hospital?

  • That's not fair can't your doctor ring up and request u to be seen hope u are feeling better soon

  • Definitely go to your gp straight away and demand an alternative rheumatologist asap - that just isn't fair - 🤞

  • There are no available appointment's at the hospital with any rheumatology consultants.This is what PALS at Colchester have emailed me today.My GP surgery have not been able to access my blood test results which were done 12 days ago but they are aware of the situation too.It seems to me that the department is not functioning as it should but as I have also made the inspectors aware what more can I do?

  • You have a right to be referred elsewhere....second opinon. That can be at any hospital. You could even be referred to a centre of excellence for RD.......London might be an option?

    Speak to your GP......you might have to be a bit assertive. As a backup, a letter and/or visit to your MP might be wise.

    Thank God I live in Scotland. We still have a functioning NHS.....not perfect, but compared to that in England so much more responsive and effective.

    Good luck, I do hope that you can access better care. M xx

  • I hit a brick wall a few weeks ago with my Rheumy who has reduced his clinics to just one a week. My appt was cancelled (for the third time) and there were no further appts available. I phoned repeatedly for a cancellation but there were none. The very kind lady who was on the other end of the phone booking the appts read out the small print that says my GP can expedite an appt as a matter of urgency BUT only if I already have an appt booked. She very sensibly made me an appt for some time a long way into 2018 and I have left my GP to do the rest.

    You certainly need to be seen by hook or by crook. Use whatever means you have to. Private appts are not necessarily a good way forward but it's useful as a last resort. Good luck xx

  • Push your GP about this. There must be a rheumatologist somewhere in the east of England that you could get to. Especially if you have early pulmonary fibrosis you need to be treated as having both that and RA must be awful.

  • I've just spent ages replying but it went into cyber space somewhere. I use Colchester Rheumatology department and they are under stress I would say because they have had problems with the booking system. I didn't get my 6 month appointment with my consultant, Dr Davis. When I rang I was told I would have to wait a year. I told them very firmly that I didn't choose to have RA, it chose me and I should be seen twice a year. Once with the consultant and once with the RA nurse. I was given an appointment immediately but with the nurse, and the next one with the consultant. I realise this is a different situation but if you look up all the consultants at the hospital, you can find their secretary phone number and ring them. At the least you should be able to get an appointment with a RA nurse who always checks with her consultant if there is a problem. My neighbour also has RA and sees Dr Byrne. Not sure if I've spelt it right. I went to the Oaks to start with, he then transferred me to the NHS. Didn't cost anywhere near £200 then. You could look up the consultants there and it shows the ones who also do clinics for the NHS. My late husband had RA too and chose Ipswich Hospital so he could be seen earlier. He then transferred over to Colchester because Ipswich is a nightmare to park, although I've since been told you can use the park and ride. Hope this is of some help.

  • Grief! That's astonishing.

    I am just on the cusp of the Colchester catchment area and ended up going to a hospital in Chelmsford, where I can get an appointment. The service is slow-ish and was considering getting transferred to Colchester, but not now.

    Is there a chance you could get moved to another service area? Are you close to another boundary your GP might be able to put you into, perhaps?

    Yes, the NHS - battling on as the "envy of the world" - that may have been some decades ago, but not now. Most staff are outstanding and deserve medals for showing up each day. I left 20 years ago and wouldn't get back in there for all the tea...

    Wishing you the best.

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