Searching for Good Consultants

Hello,

I am looking for a very good rheumatologist and happy to travel anywhere to visit them in the UK. Can anyone name hospitals or individual consultants that are seen as very good in this field in the country? I am not happy with my current consultant nor the others in my hospital that I have met.

If so, I would much appreciate hearing from you. Perhaps best to email me privately as this could be seen as sensitive information. None of the professional organisations I have rung will give me this information which i can understand.

Very grateful for any help or leads.

Regards

Emma

22 Replies

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  • I'm on my 4th consultant, now, just over a month and she appears to be making inroads as there is a slight improvement so far. but am not in uk and going privately as there is a waiting list of a year +- to see consultant on health care system here. After the other three consultants she was lovely, thorough, caring and asked my approval about the drugs she wanted to give me. Find one that is right for you. From reading these questions etc I hear Oxford is very good and have good drugs available if needed. Good luck and here's to total remission for everyone.

  • Many thanks for this Grace - I will take a look at Oxford. Good luck with your slight improvements and hope it continues. Sounds like a good consultant.

  • I think the NRAS guidelines say we shouldnt name names but if you want recommendations in Oxford or Edinburgh I can help by message.

    C

  • I think at the Nras home page there is a bar which has how hospitals rate. Have a look there. I think it's a very personal thing, some people were complaining in the waiting room of mine but I find them amazing!

    I think you as you have a lifelong relationship it is good to make sure who you get is good for you at the end of the day. I think you have a difficult task as it is difficult to move from hospital to another as I found out when I moved due to distanc, when I was sore I found it difficult to get there, so even though you say you will travel keep in mind the times you want to see them in a flare as you will be sore travelling.

    Good luck and hugs xx

  • Hi Allan, Many thanks for your reply. and advice. I don't mind the travelling at the moment nor the waiting, it's the 3 minutes with the consultant that I don't like. I will have a look at that survey again. Many thanks. Emma

  • Hi Emma, sorry to hear you don't have a good consultant. I go to West Middlesex hospital, and see Dr. Davis - I've found she's really thorough with her examinations and quite happy to be flexable with meds. For example, when I was first diagnosed, she changed my treatment plan because I was going to Kenya and needed to take a yellow fever injection. She's in demand though - its pretty difficult to get an appointment at the correct time. But actually one of the best bits of this hosp are the specialist nurses - they are happy to see you as many times as you want, and pick up phone messages prettly quickly.

    I hope you find someone good soon. Tracy :)

  • Hi there, many thanks for answering. I will look her up and that hospital. You're right with the specialist nurses being a great support and combined with a good consultant, well it makes things a lot more positive. Many thanks indeed.

  • Hi Allanah - I've had a look at the the Nras website but couldn't find a link to the hospital ratings - could you post a link please?

    Thanks

    Pauline

  • it's on the purple bar at the top of the page.

    click hospital click survey results then enter a post code.

  • I'd go for one of the bigger hospitals that has a multidiscplinary rheumatology service, so you can get all the help you need from the one clinic. As far as which rheumatologist is the best, I'm not sure that you could ever rate them absolutely. Years ago I was involved in a womens health service that tried to set up a "hot and cold" file on doctors - to rate them according to how sensitive they were to women. The results were amazing because most doctors would score at both ends of the scale, either very good or very bad - it just showed that whether you got on well with a doctor or not was a very personal decision, and it didn't matter what other people said (with few rare exceptions of the very bad ones where everyone would agree).

  • Should have said that the only exception to just choosing a doctor on gut feeling, would be if you had a specific disorder that you needed an expert on. All rheumatologists seem to be reasonably up on RA, but a lot fewer understand spondyloarthritis, or EDS, or even Lupus, so if you had one of those disorders, its worth trying to find someone who has specific interest in them.

  • Many thanks for this. I don't mind if i personally don't like the doctor but that I feel that are good in their profession and taking the time to treat me properly.

  • It might also be worth looking at the other rheumatologists within the same trust. I have changed consultant but stayed within the trust, and have gone from the 3 minute appointment scenario which you describe, where the doctor had already made up his mind how I was before he saw me and wouldn't listen to anything I said, and who was a one-trick pony drug-wise, to a different one who listens, who has referred me to a physio and the specialist nurse who in turn has referred me to an OT. It's amazing that they can be so different whilst still apparently following the same trust protocols.

    I'm in Kent, and if you would like further details, please e-mail. I agree with what Allanah said, about travelling distances - don't just think about days when you feel reasonably well. Also think about access to other services linked to the rheumatology clinic, like the specialist nurse etc.

    Good luck - I understand fully the impact of a poor service on how you feel.

    Dotty xx

  • Hello Dotty, Many thanks for your advice. You and Allanah are most probably wise when talking about reducing the travel distance. I may be okay now but not so in the future. At the moment, i get to see a consultant 2 or 3 times a year for a few mins. I have by default seen 3 other consultants in that same hospital who give the same poor service. I feel like i am playing 'pass the parcel' with my health. The last session resulted in telling me to come back in 6 months and they'd put me on the same drugs i have already been on and had no effect. That person must not have read my case history. Not good enough. I will email not regarding Kent. Many thanks for your advice. Emma

  • For those interested for looking or filling out, here is the survey page for hospitals

    nras.healthunlocked.com/hos...

    I am confused by the star system though as when you look at the actual individual results and comments, it seems to rate hospitals higher than it would appear the users intended. My hospital has just my survey and one other and rates it very high but our answers are mostly marked low by both of us. Maybe it will even out when more people respond.

  • Also, it would be useful if it put the results onto a map or listed the top 100 hospitals so i could get an idea of the better ones as i don't fancy working through every comment box for every town.

  • Dear Emma

    Sorry to hear you're not happy with your team, but I am sure you will understand that from NRAS perspective, we discourage naming specific health professionals/hospitals on this site, so can I suggest that you call our helpline team who can help with general information about services provided in rheumatology units. Hope this is helpful and that you find what you are seeking soon.

    Best wishes

    Ailsa Bosworth

    CEO, NRAS

  • Hi Alisa,

    Thanks for your reply. I can totally understand why you don't want anybody to name anybody or any hospital in a negative way and i don't think anyone here has done that. I have asked people to send me a private message. I rang up the NRAS about this months ago looking to find out which hospitals were considered the best ones and understandably, they could not answer. I can find out about general services online but nothing to do with standards of this service except for the survey area. I will start to go through this in detail but it would be helpful if i could find an easier way to get this information as this will take a very long time. I don't think my GP has this kind or knowledge and don't want to rely on him. Would going private get me a better service? Kind regards. Emma

  • Hi Emma

    As Ailsa has said, we wouldn't be able to recommend specific hospitals or rheumatologists, but as others have said, you can look at the hospitals that have been reviewed on here by clicking on the 'hospitals' link at the top. There is also a website you can use to find a consultant or information on hospitals. The level of information given on that site varies between consultants, but it does give you some idea of their qualifications and areas of interest:

    drfosterhealth.co.uk/consul...

    Kind regards

    Victoria

    (NRAS Helpline)

  • Hi Victoria,

    Many thanks for your reply. Had a quick look at this website and it appears to just give basic information about areas of expertise but nothing about the standard of their service so it does not really answer my question but thanks for trying. Best wishes, Emma

  • Hi, I do think it can be a "trial and error" exercise. I wouldnt want to do a lot of travellng to see a consultant but it would depend on how bad your experiences are currently, as it may be worth your while. I just had a 45 second (yes!) visit with a consultant who was standing in for my regular one who is on maternity leave. I find her very personable and actually asked me questions and showed concern over the amount of mtx I take, but only saw her once before she went on leave! I complained to our hospital about the totally useless 45 sec. visit with my next visit scheduled 9 months hence! Happily, they listened to me and have given me a visit in May (as opposed to November) with a different consultant. So I would encourage lodging a polite complaint with the hospital if you feel your visits are not thorough enough. After all, once every six months (in my case) should give you at least 10 minutes to talk and discuss problems. I wonder if the problem is partly too many RA patients and not enough RA consultants?

    I only have 2 hospitals in my area to choose from and havent tried to switch as I feel I can cope with the service I currently have.

    You should check the sites mentioned above, speak with your GP for some advice, but in the end you must do what YOU feel is right for you and what gives you comfort and support.

    Good luck to you.

    xx

  • Hi Lynn,

    Cheers of the reply. Yes i should lodge a polite complaint as it may give the patients a longer visit time. However, i am fed up with hospital now and don't believe they have the interest so want to go elsewhere. The last few times, i have left feeling very sad and angry at the service and determined to get a better one for myself. It's frustrating not to be 'in the know' of the better places.

    I will start trawling through the NRAS hospital surveys and hope some guidance is there. It was my first GP that directed me to this hospital so i don't have hugh faith in them. I have a much better one now but feel that i need to be pro active and when i visit him again to have a list of preferred choices on where to go. Many thanks. Emma

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