Getting what I want! 

Polio Survivors Network LogoLast January I posted this article, and a friend has just phoned to say it’s worked for her too – so here it is again!  ………

Last January my polio consultant gave me new instructions and said he would see me in May to check if they worked.  Come May, I phoned – only to be told “Dr. X’s clinic is full up to July, when it closes”.  And the person on the phone said there was no waiting list or any chance of a cancellation and I had been over-looked;  Full stop!

This was a wake-up call, so I went into overdrive

  • sent an email to the appointments office saying  I was available if a cancellation came up
  • sent email to my consultant’s Secretary, as a courtesy, but said I didn’t expect therm to do anything as knew it wasn’t tteir fault
  • sent email to my MP, with a copy to the hospital appointments office
  • sent copy email to my GP, again as a courtesy
  • As a member of the Patients’ Association phoned them for advice (basically same as above)   Tel: 020 8423 8999

and sat back to wait.

Within 5 days I was phoned -and was told I had an appointment for the next Tuesday!  I have no idea which message/email triggered this, but one of them worked!

What upsets me is that so many canceled or overlooked appointments are for painful conditions like hip and knee operations.  However much you are in pain, that doesn’t seem to count with the NHS.  You are just told to take painkillers – then blamed if you end up addicted.

For the future  

Things are going to get worse;  The laterst round of strikes is going to see more people on the waiting list.  However, there always going to be cancellations – and a polite phone call to an appointments office, saying you are available, might work.

More ideas

  1. If you have a carer, work out with them what you want them to do, and whom to contact, so they can help you.
  2. Your MP can be a good ally, so arrange to go and see them at their next surgery.  Even if they don’t do anything, copying them in on emails can ‘encourage’ hospital appointments offices to do something.
  3. Try and find out who is the head honcho in your hospital appointments office.  It can help to ask to speak to them.
  4. If you can make friends with Outpatient Receptionists, they can also be helpful, as can Secretaries.  In fact Karol In his new tell all book The Street-Wise Patient's Guide to Surviving Cancer, Karol Sikora (pictured) lifts the lid on a lottery he claims cancer sufferers face when being treated by the NHSSikora, a well-known Cancer guru, advocates giving them chocolates or some small gift to remember you and show you care.

It is going to take persistence and hard work.

Good Luck! 

And don’t give up!