About three weeks ago my GP referred me to Rheumatology via the new NHS Rushcliffe CCG system. The official take on this new system is…
“The changes we are making to the musculoskeletal service will simplify clinical pathways for patients and clinicians and offer more care in the community. This will ensure patients are directed to the correct service, and will ultimately mean they receive treatment quicker, delivering better clinical outcomes. “
I made a number of calls to my local CCG, my GP’s surgery and the Rheumatology Department at Circle Health, Nottingham to try to find out how this referral was progressing – or not.
I am not good at cutting stories short I much prefer the circuitous route but…it would seem my GP’s referral was rejected in favour of me being referred to the Community Pain/CFS clinic.
So, my take on the new referral triage system is…
“Send this patient to the cheapest service we offer as she has ME so her aches and pains must be related to this if not all in her mind. A bit of cognitive behavioural therapy and a few yoga stretches, and she’ll be just fine”.
I realise that the triage clinician can only work and assess from the information he receives from, in this instance, my GP. But, my GP is pretty thorough in her approach and she believed my symptoms were “rheumatic” in nature so I feel she would have emphasised this in her referral.
I felt really quite insulted by the referral to the CFS/Pain clinic. I’ve had ME for twenty-six years and managed my pain and all the other associated symptoms with very little support other than the love of my close family and friends.
Prickly? Definitely. I could probably lecture at the clinic if only I were well enough to do so.
Cancellation appointment – rarer than hen’s teeth - with Dr M, the Endocrinologist who has looked after me for the last ten years. He is a Consultant in Diabetes, Endocrinology, Metabolism and General Internal Medicine so we’ve got quite a lot of bases covered.
I last saw him in mid-January which is when I seemed to enter an acute phase in terms of bilateral joint & muscle pain and general “un-wellness”. Strangely, I recall refusing the normal weigh-in because I said I just couldn’t cope with the pain of taking my boots off and on again.
I gave Dr M a written summary of these “different” symptoms which started off relatively mildly last July and to how they had manifested themselves since that time. (It’s much easier for me to explain things in this way in case I have ME brain fog on the day).
We discussed things upside down and back to front; but his emphatic conclusion was that I have Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
Dr M’s view is that we have caught the condition at its early stage of manifestation. As such, he is treating me with a ten-week course of Prednisolone.
I am to start on 10mg Prednisolone tomorrow for one week. Reducing by 1mg each week over the next ten weeks.
He says he is quite confident in his diagnosis, but the steroids will only be effective if the underlying condition is PMR.
As I said, a day can make a big difference, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings after my first 10mgs of Prednisolone…