NHS Waiting Lists

I’ve just phoned up the hospital to check they’ve received my referral letter, which they have. Bearing in mind that Channel 4 programme and advice from the list I pointed out to them that I would appreciate any help in bringing forward the appointment as it was affecting my work, and I also asked if they could put me on a short notice list. The lady said she would put a note to that effect on the referral letter for the consultant to see but that this clinic/hospital does not operate a short notice/cancellation system because they have too many clinics and can’t cope with it (!) Ah well, bang goes another good idea… Under the Patient’s Charter, by the way, the maximum waiting time is meant to be 13 weeks….

Answer 1:  Does anyone know why waiting lists differ so much (“postcode lottery”)? — when I asked to see a neurologist I would have to wait six weeks, as though that were rather a long time… This was the North Yorkshire Health Authority, who seem to score well on various measures.

Answer 2:  I think the main question is funding within a particular region and the consequential number of doctors available in a given area of specialism. I was reading some bits yesterday on my rheumatology hunt and they we bemoaning (I can’t remember which Health Authority) that they hadn’t got anywhere near enough rheumatologists, that they wanted more and had been told they could have more but then the Government put some dictate out that HA‘s had to start some breast screening initiative (or something like that suitably worthy anyway) so the money had to go on that instead and they never got the extra rheumatologists that they needed. Sure it’s a tad more complicated, but basically less money = less doctors more waiting = less time with each doctor, etc. I’m sure it’s false economy in the end but that’s the way we work…


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