Friday 3 February 2012

Oh, for f*ck's sake!

God save me from officious, inept Doctors’ secretaries and receptionists.

Such was the favourable impression that Ealing Hospital had given me in those first two weeks that, on diagnosis, I promptly asked my GP to get me transferred to The Royal Marsden ASAP. 

However, a week on from her 'urgent' fax and I still hadn’t heard anything. So rather than speak to my Doctor’s receptionist, who had already failed to pass on an urgent message this week, I called the Marsden direct.

Their patient liaison officer was very nice and, after initially not being able to find me on the system, discovered that I had been allocated an appointment to see a consultant on 29th February.  Yes, you read that right - 29th FEBRUARY!

I couldn’t believe it. I explained that I was already diagnosed and undergoing supplementary tests which would probably result in surgery before that date – so she suggested that I call the consultant’s secretary. Good grief ...

So I called. And explained the situation AGAIN.  “I’m sorry Miss M.,” I was told “but the doctor is on holiday for February.  And it is usual to have to wait if you want a second opinion ...”

WHAT?!  (a) I didn’t ask for a second opinion – I know I’ve got bloody cancer, and (b) I wish my cancer could go on holiday for three weeks and let me put everything on hold!

So, after some deep breaths, I pointed out that the request was actually for a transfer of care not a second opinion. “Is it?” she said, and read the fax to me. (It was, albeit a little vague) “Well, Miss M. I suppose I could see if our other consultant has any other appointments ...” Oh, alright. Go on then. But only if it’s no bother ... ! Grrr.

So the up-shot is, neither Marsden consultant can see me until w/c 27 February – which is after the 31 day limit (post diagnosis) that I am supposed to have started my treatment.

Suddenly, Ealing Hospital isn’t looking so bad ... !


  1. No no no. This is not right. They have a whole hospital full of consultants. My god one must be available before then. This is a disgrace.

    1. You're telling me. I'm seriously pissed off ... but as she was keen to tell me: "His holiday has been booked in for six months!" Bloody good for him ...

  2. Kate, can you start treatment at Ealing, but also keep the appointment at the Marsden? Then you can see what they have to offer and transfer your care there if you wish. x

    1. That's exactly what I'm going to try to do. I don't want to fall out of the system when Ealing are at least progressing things. It's just that their time management and admin is so bad.