Hi, Welcome!

The community is a safe space for people living with and connected to arthritis to ask questions and share experiences. Get started by registering here and posting your first comment or question!

Sign In with a Versus Arthritis account

Frustrating appt with consultant - what to do?

sunlightsunlight Posts: 6
Hi there.

I'm new to this forum and am writing on behalf of my girlfriend who has severe RA - I hope you can help.

I know it's probably a common complaint, but today she had an appt with her consultant at Newcastle Freeman Hospital which has left her very upset, if not despairing.

She is currently on a trial with the drug Rituximab which is almost over after 3 years, yet despite this quite significant fact he seemed quite dispossessed of any facts about the trial protocol or my gf's situation, needing constant prompting and updating ("ah yes, I remember now" could be his catchphrase). So the woefully brief time she had with him - 5 minutes - was reduced to a farcical 'refresher session' in which my gf proved to know more about the complicated trial she is on than her consultant.

He also blithely mentioned that she might have 'a touch of Lupus', which might be a mere sideshow to him but to my girlfriend would be further devastating news about her condition.

We all know how busy consultants are, but is there any redress for patients in a situation like this? The consultant in question is very well regarded (Prof John Isaacs), but it seems to me that he has so little time for his patients as to render the appointments useless.

Sorry this is so long, and thanks again in advance.

Best Wishes,
Simon

Comments

  • elnafinnelnafinn Posts: 8,043
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Simon

    Just a thought. If you google the professors name you will find his email address . Why not send him an email from your girlfriend and also a copy in the post, setting out (politely, of course!!) her views of the 5 minute consultation attended today, that was a waste of time for both parties.

    Some of them really do need a wake up call every so often and be reminded that the person sitting opposite them has feelings when discussing their health problems.

    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • sunlightsunlight Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Elna.

    Thanks for that advice, that's really helpful. My worry, and I'm sure so many patients feel this, is being perceived as confrontational and not wanting to upset these consultants who ultimately have our health in their hands!
    As patients/partners of patients we are in the difficult position of always struggling to understand the complicated workings of the NHS, so it's hard to criticise.

    However I'm convinced he should at least be aware of what trial my partner is on, so I'm sure we have a case.

    Do you have any idea of how we might word such an email? Have you done this yourself before?

    Thanks again in advance,
    Simon
  • elnafinnelnafinn Posts: 8,043
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Simon

    I have only written a letter of praise to a consultant! I just think that if you feel strongly about this, which you understandably do, a letter should be written about how you (girlfriend) were made to feel at this appointment. It will make you feel better that you have done something positive even if nothing comes of it...... It can all be wrapped up politely but also get the point across. I do not know if your girlfriend will be seeing this consultant again - that makes it more difficult of course!

    I am sure the helpline will come up with some ideas when they answer your posting today and you can always call them up - number top right hand corner of page.

    I wish you both all the best,
    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • Rainbow77Rainbow77 Posts: 352
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Simon

    If you don't tell him, then nothing will be done. I would write a letter explaining your gf concerns, that you feel that you got nothing out of the appointment and that you would like another appointment to discuss this. Also - send a copy of your letter to your GP. The hospital will have to take notice as they won't want it to appear in the complaints statistics and so they will want to sort it out and also will make sure that you get the care you need.

    Dear .... I attended the clinic at ....... at Hospital with ............ I am writing to inform you that I came away feeling .......... and concerned with the care and treatment I received. I felt that the Consultant appeared to not know very much about the trial that I was on and he kept saying ................ and I had to remind him of ................. I would also like to know what he meant by 'touch of Lupus' etc.

    Just write facts and give examples of statements. Explain how your girlfriend feels and then say what you what.

    I think it would be necessary to have another appointment booked where we can discuss my concerns and look at the nest step etc. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Keep it brief and to the point and then see what happens next. I hope this helps. If you don't ask, you don't get.

    Take care

    Fayann xxx
  • sunlightsunlight Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for all your advice here - I'm glad I've discovered this forum!
  • helpline_teamhelpline_team Posts: 2,068
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    sunlight wrote:
    Thanks for all your advice here - I'm glad I've discovered this forum!

    Dear Simon

    Thank you for your posting and welcome to the forum. It is understandable how frustrating and upsetting this is for both you and your girlfriend. It is not uncommon for patients to feel frustrated when they come out of appointments as the time they have is so short. I am aware that you have had lots of advise from other forum users. If you decide to email the consultant it may have more impact if it came from your girlfriend as the patient.

    If you contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the hospital where your girlfriend is seen they should be able to help you. They are there to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. Both you and your girlfriend are more than welcome to call us on the freephone helpline number of 0808 800 4050 if you would like some support or want to talk things through.
    I hope this has been helpful.

    Best Wishes
    Dawn
Sign In or Register to comment.