Today I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital with my rheumatologist.
Last time I went, they took 12 vials of blood to test 16 different things, and I was told I would be sent an appointment for three months, which would have been December 2004.
The appointment was actually sent for January 2005, then I had a letter saying my appointment had had to be re-scheduled and I was given 21st March 2005, which is 6 months from the initial visit.....
I am convinced this is the NHS way of complying with Tony Blair`s health service reform criteria. Because I was given a follow-up appointment for 3 months, which obviously wasn`t possible to honour due to the horrendous local waiting lists, the appointment had to be rescheduled for a later date when they could fit me in.
However, because the repeat appointment was originally sent within NHS timeframe guidelines, it is a statistical success.
This has also happened recently with D4`s dental hospital appointments; she was supposed to have been seen in December 2004 to check there were no problems after her surgery, but the appointment was "rescheduled" by the hospital in November 2004 and we are **still** waiting for an appointment date, even though she has since ended up having emergency hospitalisation and surgery for complications resulting from that initial surgery.
Anyway, I digress...........
When I got to the hospital today, I saw one of the junior doctors, who um-ed and ah-ed and said he wasn`t certain what the diagnosis was, but he didn`t think it was Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is what I have been told I have for the last 8 years .........
Most of the blood tests came back normal, except for a very high C Reactive Protein and abnormal Complement 3 and Complement 4, which needed further investigating - ie more blood tests today, and the results will take a month to come back, so I have been given an appintment to return in 4 months.
If I had been given an appointment in Dec, as I was told I should, the complement abnormalities would have been picked up, the repeat tests would have been done and I would have had the results back by now, hopefully with some form of diagnosis. As it is, I will be lucky to get the results back by the end of July- assuming, that is, that the appointment won`t have to be "rescheduled" by the hospital again.
I do believe in the National Health service, heck I worked in it, but this is wearing me down. I think I might take advantage of being on DH`s private health cover, but what about all those folk who don`t have that option ?
It isn`t fair.