Is this going to be permanent ?: Just received an... - NRAS


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Is this going to be permanent ?


Just received an appointment from the rheumatologist in May it’s still a telephone consultation. I really don’t like these and don’t find them productive. Sorry moaning again.

32 Replies

I kinda suspect that appointments might be by telephone for a while yet 😥

Neonkittie17 in reply to Mmrr

I spoke to my endocrinologist by phone last week and he said he hopes next time in September it is in his clinic ftf. I hope so too for us all and problematic joints do need examination.

We’re under a lot of specialties between us. One has surveyed to see what patients want going forward post covid, and of those that replied, the majority apparently wanted predominantly telemedicine but being seen face to face if there’s a problem. Where I’ve asked the others, with the exception of things like orthodontics where you pretty much have to physically examine someone, the feedback has been the same. In future, telemedicine will routinely be used wherever possible and they feel it’s appropriate. I also have real problems with this as I don’t find it particularly effective outside of clinicians that already know me well (and not always even then), as does the teenager due to her additional needs. The only way it’s consistently worked well for us so far is with the GP, but I suspect that’s more to do with our surgery than the system overall.

Have you considered phoning the rheum NS and speaking to them about the possibility of being seen in person? I did this with a non-rheum appointment, phoning the secretary to explain and having it result in a f2f.

J1707 in reply to Charlie_G

Thanks for replying. I did ring they are only seeing those who need steroid injections or drug failure. My meds are not working fully and a f2f will not be available for quite some time. These are booked separately.. a Royal pain in the 🤬it’s just so time consuming trying to get hold of someone.

whaleroad in reply to Charlie_G

I don't mind continuing telephone appointments in principle. It's just that the two rheumatology telephone appointments I've had were terrible and I've no reason to think they will improve if this is the norm.

Like you, I've found the GPs have got it right. But having to go through reception triage is not going work all the time for me - I am already putting off speaking to the GP about something of a delicate nature. The online triage system (ours uses DoctorLink) is good, but can also be off-putting.

I have some hope that changes will be made that will reduce unnecessary appointments, but also real concerns that serious things will be missed.

It’s a really difficult one. I’ve had RA a long time, i have a good relationship with my rheum and the nurses, I know my disease and it’s well controlled. For me, telephone or video calls make sense. It means the clinic can review more patients and it frees up face-to-face appointments for those who need it. I do think there needs to be an element of patient choice and preference.

Think id tell them how you feel on the phone and ask for a face to face. If you've been jabbed and they've been jabbed and you have masks and ppe i see no reason not to have a f2f... and after June the plan is opening up isnt it too?? Ps my appointments have been f2f all the pandemic.

Love the fact we’re having this discussion on World Health Day 🙂 I had a F2F with rheumatology in Feb but that was my first appointment back in the system after my “sabbatical” of 10 years. I’ve since had a 6-week telephone follow up and have been more or less told all appointments will be by phone for some time. I’d prefer video calls to be honest so you can at least show them swollen joints or whatever.

Totally agree. My next appointment is July - again a telephone call as the last 2 have been. This is the 'new' ie crap normal we're having to get used to. I tried to get a telephone consult with GP yesterday - told to ring back Friday to see if they have any free slots for week commencing 19th April!!

J1707 in reply to Dobcross1

It’s stressful

LoneEra in reply to Dobcross1

My GP is the same. I was told to book a meds review before they would issue me anymore Tramadol or Gabapentin (as they are controlled drugs) but the telephone appointment they gave me was 8 weeks away. I would have needed 2 prescriptions in that time. I politely explained and they just waived the meds review 😂

J1707 in reply to LoneEra

Inconsistent 🙄

Dobcross1 in reply to LoneEra


I had a F2F with my biologics nurse last December. My GP surgery is now starting to phase them back in with the practice nurse. I had my bit B 12 injection and while I was there she did my asthma review and blood pressure check.

Yes I agree I think phone appointments are very inferior to F2F. I’ve got an appointment on 22 April and have not been told whether it’s telephone or F2F. I’m thinking of not asking to find out which and just turning up at the hospital expecting to see the consultant. If I have my mobile on me it won’t matter if he’s not there and calling me from home!

I've had both nurse and consultant rheumy f2f and although the nurse one was specifically arranged because of issues, the other one was just routine so some clinics seem to be able to do them.

GP appointments are still telephone but that's fine by me.

Yes I fully agree x

I really don’t like telephone appointments. I had my first rheumatologist appointment since December 2019, yesterday and I wasn’t impressed. I already have my next appointment which they sent me a few months ago - that is in December and is a telephone appointment! I have had an Endocrinologist appointment last October (the first time in 14 months) and that was a telephone appointment and my next one is in May - again a telephone appointment - all the same hospital. I have no idea how they can see my joints through a telephone!


I was sent a text from the surgery on Thursday evening, then another Good Friday, Easter Saturday telling me to book my 2nd vaccination using a link, which was useless on a pay as you go phone so I rang the surgery on Tuesday morning to book an appointment and explained I cannot access a link. Only be told there are no appointments available try again later in the week. So my hopes were dashed for my 2nd vaccination within one call and I wonder how many others experience difficulty with limited means/technology in accessing important things such as this and will continue to do so in the future if F2F becomes a thing of the past or greatly reduced?

J1707 in reply to Pippy25

I fear so many will fall through the cracks. Physical examination is pivotal with this disease. What I deemed as good in my last f2f was in fact active inflammation.. it looked good to me .

Pippy25 in reply to J1707

That's right and I agree with you there x

J I've rang joint clinic today about my knee how can anyone be assessed from physio about my knee on a video call ..baffled me this one.

J1707 in reply to Vonnie10

Beggars belief!!

Iv got appointment in may with my consultant a face to face one ☺️

J1707 in reply to Beth72

Your one of the lucky ones .. hope all goes well

Beth72 in reply to J1707

Thank you 😊

I had a telephone consultation a couple of weeks ago which lasted nine whole minutes and they decided they needed to see me face to face anyway so it was a complete waste of time and I’ve still got a three week wait for my appointment... I’m not sure what it was like before covid though as I’ve only been seeing rheumatology since January... the whole experience has been a complete nightmare though

J1707 in reply to Clokii

Not a good for anyone but must be much more unsettling if newly diagnosed. Hope your f2f goes well.

I had a telephone appointment last September and another booked for next week, but surprised I also received a hospital attendance appointment booked for November!

I agree, they can’t see how much pain you are in. I saw my GP 2 weeks ago and he put an urgent referral in to see my rheumatologist, two days later I got a call to come to the Hot Clinic as they called it. My appointment was at 3.30 but the doctor was running really late, I was taken at 5.00. They kept coming to ask if I wanted to stay but I wasn’t moving. I was taken aback to see she didn’t wear a mask or gloves and asked if it was ok to examine me. What can you really say! However she told me to get bloods done and she is going to arrange a biopsy and ultrasound and would have to consult with my consultant when results come in and would prob phone me on Monday. Still waiting on that call, I’m in a lot of pain. I also got bloods done at my surgery on Tuesday, the receptionist called me yesterday with the results which I don’t think is right either, where are all the doctors? She said I need to get them repeated in two weeks again, I didn’t bother too much as I’m hoping the hospital calls me before then. Surely this system can’t go on. When I arrived at the hot clinic there was only one other patient in at the time.

I’ve only had one phone consultation and that was last May. I’ve had a F2F appointments since then, a few with the nurses and one with my consultant a few weeks ago. I’ve also had several F2F appointments in the orthopaedic department. I’ve got another one booked with the biologics nurse for May. Hopefully other hospitals will reinstate F2F appointments too.

Unfortunately I think it will be! a complete waste of time, but then so many of our appointments are. In terms of drugs unless you feel terrible its sometimes the devil (injection) you know is better to stay on, than have a change that can sometimes take ages to happen- with nobody thinking what happens to you whilst your waiting for a new one. And if the outcome is you're staying on same meds they dont want to see you or discuss & see how swollen your joints are or feel- and god forbid you are overweight cos then they cant even feel the inflammation anyway-they must be trained on thin people!!! I hate having to speak on the phone anyway to strangers.

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