Slow letters to GPs

Why is it that consultants secretaries take so long to send letters to GPs? I know from experience that it does take a while usually about 3 weeks for the letters to be typed and forwarded to GPs but 5 weeks on and I am still waiting for my GP to get a letter from my Scleroderma specialist, to the extent that I cannot get any more of my medication without it. I have tried to take my boxes in with my name on the label and have also supplied the surgery with a photocopy of the box labels to be told that without a letter my particular GP will not issue other prescriptions. It is a good job it is only for eye drops and artificial saliva spray. Heaven help anyone who needs something stronger. It seems that we patients are at the bottom of the pile again and end up having to pester people to get the simplest jobs done so we can continue with new medication without a break. Hey Ho!

8 Replies

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  • You think that's bad? I've waited for 14 weeks to receive a clinical letter from my rheumatologist! It finally came on Saturday and it was five pages in length so he'd put a lot of thought into it at least. He'd scrawled "sorry for the delay" by hand on it too. I'm not sure if it was worth the wait as its driven my high BP up with stress every time the post arrived. He appears to have moved my diagnosis on from RA to polyarthritis with Raynauds and snall fiber neuropathy but all my autoabtibodies were negative so he hasn't been able to reach a decision on what systemic process is occurring. But I was so relieved that his tone wasn't dismissive and reassured that he's being very thorough at least. He has a few more unusual tests to run next month so this will probably lead to another colossal wait. Meanwhile I've been referred to oral surgery and urology so I think I'm going to have to take up mediation - with a heat pad, gloves, socks and a leech blanket of course!

    Next time you see your scleroderma specialist you should ask them for a written note with your prescription meds written and signed so you can use this with your GP surgery and they can scan it onto your notes.

  • Have you tried to phone your consultant's secretary? I have the phone number for my consultant's secretary and she has always been most helpful anytime I have had a query on my appointment time or whathaveyou.

  • My consultant has always sent me a copy of the letter he sends to my GP and I usually only have to wait a couple of weeks at the most. I have received treatment in Suffolk and now in Norfolk and it has always been so. All consultants should have the same policy. I don't know why some think their patients don't need to know the diagnosis. When I told my first consultant that I got a lot of information about Scleroderma online and from forums he told me that some people on forums know more than GPs.

    I hope you get your answer soon. Ask him at your next appointment if he can also send you a copy of the letter he sends to the GP. If he says that is not possible tell him that most other consultants do it without even being asked.

    You need your medication. You shouldn't have to wait. It is not "only eyedrops". If you didn't need it he wouldn't have prescribed it. It is as important to you as any other medicine.

    Hope you get it soon and have a good Christmas.

  • Did you ask the hospital to send you copies of of letters to the GP.

  • In the states you can just call your consultant and ask for a refill to be filled at a home town pharmacy. That will help with prescriptions as those letters can be very slow.

  • Yep know the feeling I have in the past waited 7 weeks for a one line letter to get from one building to the one next door so I can arrange my iloprost -!thats not even doing the prescription or anything it's the line to say book me in please !!!!!!

    It's insane there has got to be an easier way - I have yet to find it but I'm trying.

    That's not to mention the months and months I used to wait for the letter to get from one hospital to another (same trust) so I moved my outpatient to the same hospital as I have treatment to avoide that delay.

    It's hard for them as they have loads of patients etc but equally as hard to be a patient patient !

  • I recently had a similar experience with a multi-disciplinary clinic myself. I would have been okay if the letter was decent after nearly ten weeks. The letter was shoddy with lots to f errors, the referral to another consultant wasn't even mentioned, no diagnostic info even though this was clearly mentioned by one of the consultants. Other missing info which would have been better to have mentioned in the letter. I complained via PALS. Some clinics are wonderful, I wouldn't mind waiting for 4-6weeks for a letter to arrive, the usual timescale. A little longer, if it was worth the wait. But a rubbish letter like I had, it is a very poor practice. A very disorganised clinic.

  • Thank you all for your replies. I did eventually get hold of my consultant's secretary and a letter was faxed through. That was the beginning I went to pick up the prescription to find that everything on it was either not available at the multiple chemists I trolled round or there was a manufacturing problem.

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