Pain Concern
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Surgery waiting list orthopedics


I was refered to hospital by my GP in February, had corticosteroids injection unfortunately it didn't work for me, so I've seen the spinal surgeon & he said he will operate.

My question is.... who controls the waiting lists ? & makes desision on when it's my turn ? If it's surgeons secetary then I'm doomed to a very long wait, as we clashed a little on a phone call :(

How do you get on a cancellation list also ? I've no idea on who to ask as secetary don't return voicemails left for her, I've left message for past 3 weeks once on a Friday every week asking if she would be kind enough to call me as I have a couple of questions & left my number & she isn't on leave, am I being a nuisance if I ring daily?

Any advice welcomed as going through PALS takes a while

26 Replies

Generally the surgeon decides on who takes priority for Ops. However there are guidelines on how long the maximum wait is which you can get from Pals or NHS choices webpage.I would suggest you see your GP if you are concerned about the wait. To get on the cancellations list you have to inform the secretary, maybe a letter would solve that part of your dilemma. Hope this info is of help, good luck with getting things sorted.


Thank you :) I'm seeing my GP this week

So will chat to him

Thank you :)


Dianebow, are you sure you want surgery? I had surgery over 10 years ago it was the biggest mistake I've ever made I do believe and being a nurse I should have known better...please we have the WWW you can research anything esp if you're older, once it's done it can't be undone

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Hi nurse :) thank you for replying :)

No way do I want surgery, I'm frightened still & feel sick thinking about it.

Unfortunately I have no choice, it's a nasty little cyst coating my facett & causing compression & stuck to my nerves OUCH!

If it's not removed I think the toxins in the medication might finish me of ?

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Had it almost a year & we tried conservative treatment but nothing worked unfortunately :(

Do you mind me asking what surgery did you have ? I'm scared stiff, but need this debilitating pain gone, no life at the min, grounded fully & now have started falling :(


O Diane I worked in surgery at the beginning of my career... folk used to say they are worried about dying etc. my old saying was 'no way' in the OR you have more support than you could ever realize... If the cyst is low enough they maybe can do a spinal if you are afraid of the anesthesia... just think of the times after the surgery, pain gone... I had back surgery after I was shocked by a patients implanted device that shocked his heart and me too sense I was trying to start an IV fractured 2 disc in my back...this was the biggest medical mistake I have ever made I know better now... and having continued problems with my back like crippling sciatica pain from time to time I have learned that if I give my body time ;take the pain pills et the body will heal itself without surgery intervention or should I say 'greed'

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O dang Diane, I see what you mean and yeah I would have the surgery also in that case.... Blessings to you my friend

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Thanks nurse :) it's a year I'm two weeks this awful pain, unfortunately I cannot escape the theatre :( I wish I could, what did you have done ? I hope you are managing well now x


Hi diane, I fractured a disc in my back so the surgeon went in to clean up the fragments... it took about 2 weeks to have the surgery and after he went in the fragments were gone, my body trying to repair itself had cleaned up the fragments 'pain' was unbelievable... I asked him why didn't he do another MRI before he made the incision? Yeah I shouldn't have let him do it but some doc think we are ignorant and we should be to such things... the greed is terrible... your case is absolutely different though Diane.. Blessing to you, let me know how things turn out ;-)


So basically he didn't need to operate ? As your body was repairing itself

I asked the question to the surgeon, will you do another mri answer no we don't! No need

He is draining my cyst & popping in plant in, to stop it filling again with tieing implant to adjoining facetted joints 4 to 5 cm incision

I've looked at options on Google & I could have key hole surgery to remove cyst of nerve & it don't come back, so now I'm puzzled ??? Why put foreign object inside me if not needed as I have no degeneration in spine either

So listening to you & others on here who suffer afterwards

I'm of to see GP and demand he questions or asks surgeon why ?


Maybe a good reason but not risking my spines future

Thanks nurse :)


Get outta here Diane, why an implant??? I've seen a lot of surgeries worked there for years... It's a regular cyst right? I started to ask why not stick a long needle in there under x-ray and cut it off or drain it there??? putting in an implant 'foreign body' for what I don't get it either Diane


Yes regular cyst

That's my question also, apparently a drained cyst will 99% return, so he said drain & implant so it won't havery room to come back

Google says 100% success record on easy complete removel with keyhole surgery & less complications afterwards

He didn't give me a chance to question him really, I know I shouldn't have but as I was alone I recorded the conversion on my phone as I was alone, it's 4 minutes long & I have to see my GP Tuesday morning & I'm going to discuss it with her as she is understanding, I'm hoping she will fax surgeon for me & ask questions & maybe say it's reassurance for me, as obviously I don't want to make him think I don't trust him, it's a big thing for anyone & as they do them daily I think they forget we are scared

Hopfull to get answers soon, as his secretary has ignored my messages & one email! I know yes they are very busy, but it's not an excuse to ignore concerns

My work when well is very demanding & customer focused very very busy

I spend hours in my own time catching up on calling customers back, as we've had drastic cut backs also, so I know the drill :)


Hi nurse I'm 6 weeks post op & I'm a new woman thankfuly

It's worked for me I've put a full update below as not been on for a long while with being poorly then the op :) I hope your well


Waiting lists are organised on several criteria. Any emergencies come first and then anyone with significant life changing needs. Then it's just a case of shuffling up the line and waiting. Only some surgeries can be done with cancellations. It depends on how long the cancelled surgery is and how many other personnel are needed compared to yours.

If you think the secretary is really blocking you send a registered letter to him/ her stating that you are willing to have your operation at short notice. Some people can't due to a range of circumstances. Give an email address for an acknowledge Kent.

My surgeons secretary is lovely but she doesn't return my calls either. She is just too busy. I had my surgeons email but I was careful to use it only twice in over a year.

I would say you are being a nuisance ringing every day. Even every week. Like every other job in the NHS it's very very likely that this secretary is stretched to the maximum.


Hi thank you I have sent an email this morning, so hopefullyshould get a quick reply just to confirm details

It's shocking how busy they are in the NHS & I'm OK waiting, so long as I know I'm on the list as he said 8 to 12 weeks & I'm on my 3rd week :)

Thank you for your reply this site is a great support line :)


In the past 2 years .i have been to 5 doc.offices.and 3 different eye docs.with .about 50 appointments.not once has any secretary been nice or secretary was screaming at me.she had lied about my blod results being in.and did not want to give me a copy.i told her the hospital said you have it!!!!i would not back down.Doc.called me about it.was rude took her side.i reported them to their network.and insurance


That's awful you did right to complain bless you

I'm keeping a full diary on date calls opponents ect

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So that it can be put forward to PALS


Believe me, I know how you feel.

The wait depends on a number of factors, some of which have already been mentioned such as emergencies, priorities, your local health authority, the number of surgeons qualified and competent in your area to carry out this particular operation, numbers already on the wait list, etc. etc.

I had to wait almost two years to even get a letter confirming I was on the Wait List! Not to mention informing me that my consultant surgeon had been changed to someone I've never met.

You are actually wasting your time contacting the Admin team - things move so fast in most of those departments that they're unlikely to be in a position to give you any definitive information unless your allocated Surgeon has stipulated it. When that happens, you'll receive the information in writing.

Please be patient. Definitely speak to your GP if you're anxious but do remember that there may be quite a few other people in your area in line for these operations as well and you've only just discovered that the steroid injections don't work for you - others, like me, ran out of those options a couple or three years ago and were put on the wait list.

I hope you understand.

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Hi thank you for reply, sounds awful waiting that long :( so I'm pleased that mine will be 8 to 12 weeks as I couldn't imagine waiting years in this pain

I had my injection Early June, they don't see you for at least 6 weeks afterwards as it can take time to work,


So I waited another 4 months nearly to see specialist again :( I was angry as a referal from a GP to them with new patients is only 4 to 6 weeks!!


Sorry phone freezing gggrrhhh thank you for advice & sending you get well wishes to :)


Hi Dianebow1968

It's an unfortunate situation that many of us go through not having our calls returned. If you think your particular situation has arisen from one unpleasant phone call from you perhaps the best thing to do is on your next physical visit to that particular office is to apologize. NOT because you necessarily need to or did any thing wrong but often we may simply misunderstand one other- she has no idea what your pain puts you through daily along with the anxiety of wanting some relief-anything-including surgery- just cut it off ! take it out ! what ever it takes ! and visa versa we have no idea as to what is expected of her by her superior. I suppose what I'm saying is if we acknkowledge what each others different daily frustrations are (our chronic and unbearable pain and someone being so overworked they take it out on the us, the patient - but should never do). Hopefully she will do the same in kind, apologize, leaving you both feeling better and leaving with a smile benifiting both of your uncomfortable situations. At least you will know that you did your part and take the guilt off your shoulders if that's what you're feeling after you 'clashed' on the phone. She may very well feel so bad about her treatment of you that it has handicapped her ability to do the right thing, return your call. Medical Secretaries are responsable for doing more than we think. ** What happened to the good old fashioned receptionists I've often wondered? ** Just answering and returning all calls that are appointment related, making appointments, reschedualing appointments, rebooking the cacellation, and then filling the old spot in which the patient got bumped up to, calling to confirm, leaving appointments opened for emergencies, sending faxes (and actually waiting to see if they have been received, etc... on the busy Dr.s monthly calender, I imagine would be hectic on its own. The phone takes an awful lot of time out of the Medical Secretaries day and I'm sure it's a constant interruption of her concentration at whatever she is trying to get done at hand. Ya ! Employee someone who needs (and has great communication skills) an old fashioned Receptionist Job and stop overworking Medical Secretaries who probably want to throw the phone against the wall every time it rings! ( I'm not a Medical Secretary) but I see this an awful lot, - in too many Doctors Offices. I have sometimes hung up the phone from a health professionals office and thaught - geez, she was pretty rude ! Medical overworked Secretaries are frazzled, and impolite as a result, which doesn't benifit anyone! Most are staying far past thier working hrs. (6-7-8P.M.) in order to keep up or the next day they get so behind ...* Mistakes Start Happening!* I personally wouldn't be so much in a hurry for Back Surgery but rather be more concerned with the Surgeons ability and experience. I've heard of many Back Surgeries that have, for what ever reason gone awry, leaving the patient in a worse undo able position than before the surgery and then it's too late. More pain, higher doses of pain medication and a miserable life as can get, because the surgery didn't do what one was expecting and the vicious cycle of pain worsens permanently. What are the benifits vs. the risks? Did your Dr. recommend this Surgery or is it something that you think would be benificial? Our backs are very complicated muscles, all the nerves and our Spinal cord ? I personally would want to know everything I could about the Surgeon. As with any job, being good at what one does requires experience, thier own health statis and even knowing if they got a good nights sleep! Whether you are patient # 1,2,3, or 5th,6th in line for the O.R. I'd want to be really sure of his/her experience, past record of successfull Surgeries, any patient referrals ? and outcomes? discouraging using this Surgeon? who operated on them ? ...before I would become impatient and anxious. I'm not saying you have this character by no means! Back pain can be and get to the point of complete debilitating pain with no enjoyment of any normal daily activities and it's not fun ! At all ! I just strongly believe in investing some time on this before getting to anxious to be on the industry's "Production Line" waiting list. A Surgeon to anxious or haphazardly saying: " Yes, I'll do the surgery" may be only thinking about lining his/her own pocket. Something that is distasteful to think about but unfortunately true. I would not throw caution to the wind.😯😕

How about this novel idea?


A Revolutionary Campaign from Patients for Patients ! 😀


Hi lol thanks for the message & popping by the clinic one day is a great idea thank you :)

Unfortunately I have & he has no option but to operate, I have a cyst & it's compresses on my nerves & pinching spinal cord, so my pain is debilitating

I've gone from being active, to being disabled with the compression & the medication will be causing more long term issues if not resolved

I dread the thought of spine sugary, very scary!! But this cyst is growing, I cannot do very much at all now, trapped indoors unable to go to work, intense pain OMG it hurts like no other pain.

After giving birth to 3 kids no pain relief, as I hate the thought of toxins in min or babies system, & 2nd birth was a long drawn out 18 hours :)

I understand they are very busy, my job is very busy & very stressful in a similar role



I have Google on replay an have only managed to find good reports about him, so hopefully he will be a good surgeon

The cyst & extra fluid is being removed from l4 l5 facett & a titanium spacer put in, which has latex type bands on it, so has some flexibility ubike the rods & screws

Scary scary scary

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Well it's been a while now

Just to let you all know, I'm 6 weeks post op & feel amazing! No pain just very weak muscles to build back up in my lumber area

Surgeon said I was red swollen & not only was the synovial cyst pressing on my nerve, my disk had herniated also into to spinal canal and trapped the nerve 100% while narrowing spinal canal itself, he said I was a mess & he could see why I had been in constantpain with nothing relieving the pressure as in the last 2 weeks before the operation I could hardly move and had lost hope.

He cleaned up everything drained my cyst & put in a Diam Wallis implant for stabilisation & to reduce the risk of the cyst refilling & I cannot thank him enough as he has literally saved my life!

13 months I had to wait in total for the operation! But it came just in time, even my surgeon is happy & realises now why I was complaining of the immense pain as yes synovial cysts are tiny at times but it's what damage & havoc the can do inside which is totally underestimated I believe by many professional 's

I'm a new woman & couldn't have not had the operation and yes I was so scared but I'm here & I'm fighting fit

Well once my muscles have built back up to normal with gentle excersize

So not all operations are bad or lead to others, we're all different and the outcomes arnt the same

I wish everyone good luck & I hope you all have a pain free Christmas xx


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