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 ... !