How long before I see a Rheumatologist?

Options
averyniceman
averyniceman Member Posts: 75
Hi
I first noticed that the joints of the fingers of my left hand were inflamed in the first week of December 2008. The pain didn’t go away so I went to my GP on December 22nd. He sent me for blood tests,: the results came through on December 27th and confirmed that I have high RF and inflammation in my body. The GP said he would refer me to a rheumatologist.

Since then, I have developed inflammation in my right foot and neck—at least. I keep noticing twinges all over my body.

I haven’t heard from the hospital – the doctor seems layed back about this. He has prescribed anti-inflamatories, he tells me to be optimistic, and reassures me that the hospital will contact me to arrange an appointment in four to five weeks.

My question is, should I be concerned about the time it’s taking to get a diagnosis and, (if it is arthritis) to try to get it under control? And if so, is there anything I can do to speed things up?

Or does it not matter much – maybe the outcome will be much the same whether I’m seen straight away or sometime in the next four or five weeks.

Comments

  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,581
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi 'Averyniceman'

    Unfortunately getting an appointment to see a rheumatologist can take some time. If you find that things are getting worse rapidly either give the hospital a ring to see if they can fit you in sooner incase there has been a cancellation. If you are finding the disease activity and pain is not being managed by your current level of medication please see you GP and also mention the hospital appointment to him, perhaps he could make a call to speed it up. Waiting up to 5 weeks for an appointment is 'relatively' quick. If you would like to talk to one of the Helpline team please feel free to give us a call if you require any support in dealing with the condition.

    Best wishes

    simona
  • averyniceman
    averyniceman Member Posts: 75
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi 'Averyniceman'

    Unfortunately getting an appointment to see a rheumatologist can take some time. If you find that things are getting worse rapidly either give the hospital a ring to see if they can fit you in sooner incase there has been a cancellation. If you are finding the disease activity and pain is not being managed by your current level of medication please see you GP and also mention the hospital appointment to him, perhaps he could make a call to speed it up. Waiting up to 5 weeks for an appointment is 'relatively' quick. If you would like to talk to one of the Helpline team please feel free to give us a call if you require any support in dealing with the condition.

    Best wishes

    simona

    Thanks Simona

    But I still want to know whether I should be concerned about the time it’s taking to get a diagnosis and, (if it is arthritis) to try to get it under control.

    Or, as I said in the first post, maybe it does it not matter much .

    I guess I'm really wondering whether to pay for a diagnosis.

    I'd obviously save myself some anxiety by getting a quicker diagnosis, but maybe the outcome in terms of joint damage and desease control will be much the same whether I’m seen straight away or sometime in the next four or five weeks or even eight weeks.

    Can you advise me about this?
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 3,581
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello
    Starting treatment with Disease Modifying Drugs early in diagnosis has been shown to reduce long term damage to joints so do ring the hospital and see how much longer you have to wait for your appointment. If it is only another couple of weeks it probably won't make any difference but if they are talking about a few months, and getting a one off private consultation is an option for you, then ask how you arrange that.
    Hope this gets sorted out for you soon.
    Best wishes
    Val
  • averyniceman
    averyniceman Member Posts: 75
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hello
    Starting treatment with Disease Modifying Drugs early in diagnosis has been shown to reduce long term damage to joints so do ring the hospital and see how much longer you have to wait for your appointment. If it is only another couple of weeks it probably won't make any difference but if they are talking about a few months, and getting a one off private consultation is an option for you, then ask how you arrange that.
    Hope this gets sorted out for you soon.
    Best wishes
    Val

    Thanks Val. I'll follow your advice.
  • gennyf47
    gennyf47 Member Posts: 30
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi there
    I work in an NHS hospital, not rheumatology unfortunately, and we have to follow strict guidelines about the 18 week pathway. This means that once a referral is made the "clock" is ticking and the patient has to be seen before the 18 weeks is breached.
    We often get patients phoning up to check if their GP referral has reached us yet, have you tried calling the rheumatology department and checking if you are on their list?
    Sometimes it takes a while for the letter to get to the right desk!

    Hi

    I first noticed that the joints of the fingers of my left hand were inflamed in the first week of December 2008. The pain didn’t go away so I went to my GP on December 22nd. He sent me for blood tests,: the results came through on December 27th and confirmed that I have high RF and inflammation in my body. The GP said he would refer me to a rheumatologist.

    Since then, I have developed inflammation in my right foot and neck—at least. I keep noticing twinges all over my body.

    I haven’t heard from the hospital – the doctor seems layed back about this. He has prescribed anti-inflamatories, he tells me to be optimistic, and reassures me that the hospital will contact me to arrange an appointment in four to five weeks.

    My question is, should I be concerned about the time it’s taking to get a diagnosis and, (if it is arthritis) to try to get it under control? And if so, is there anything I can do to speed things up?

    Or does it not matter much – maybe the outcome will be much the same whether I’m seen straight away or sometime in the next four or five weeks.
  • averyniceman
    averyniceman Member Posts: 75
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    gennyf47 wrote:
    Hi there
    I work in an NHS hospital, not rheumatology unfortunately, and we have to follow strict guidelines about the 18 week pathway. This means that once a referral is made the "clock" is ticking and the patient has to be seen before the 18 weeks is breached.
    We often get patients phoning up to check if their GP referral has reached us yet, have you tried calling the rheumatology department and checking if you are on their list?
    Sometimes it takes a while for the letter to get to the right desk!

    Hi

    I first noticed that the joints of the fingers of my left hand were inflamed in the first week of December 2008. The pain didn’t go away so I went to my GP on December 22nd. He sent me for blood tests,: the results came through on December 27th and confirmed that I have high RF and inflammation in my body. The GP said he would refer me to a rheumatologist.

    Since then, I have developed inflammation in my right foot and neck—at least. I keep noticing twinges all over my body.

    I haven’t heard from the hospital – the doctor seems layed back about this. He has prescribed anti-inflamatories, he tells me to be optimistic, and reassures me that the hospital will contact me to arrange an appointment in four to five weeks.

    My question is, should I be concerned about the time it’s taking to get a diagnosis and, (if it is arthritis) to try to get it under control? And if so, is there anything I can do to speed things up?

    Or does it not matter much – maybe the outcome will be much the same whether I’m seen straight away or sometime in the next four or five weeks.

    The hospital has received the referral -- and will see me within eight weeks.

    Too long to wait -- I'm too worried. I've got an appointment with a private rheumatologist tomorrow to at least get a diagnosis.
  • jackie1955
    jackie1955 Member Posts: 632
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Options
    Hi 'averyniceman'
    How has your meeting with your Rheumy gone? Have you been diagnosed, prescribed meds, had any tests? Was it what you expected..............