Am I glad I stuck to my guns
When my osteoporosis Consultant retired, I had to fight to choose where I wanted to be treated
NHS GP was reluctant to refer me, saying she wanted me to be seen at the hospital where her surgery has a contract. But I stuck to my guns and said patients were allowed a choice – and am so glad I did.
Bent double due to osteoporosis, I hobbled in to King’s Clinic. Immediately staff were sympathetic – would I like a cup of tea?, etc. Hospital transport had delivered me an hour early, but they would see if I could be seen earlier – and I was. Had several tests, and each time a nurse came out to lend me her arm to take me to the next room. Not so good; I learnt my height has decreased 3 inches, but that’s life. ,
When I saw the Consultant he came out to help me into his room, and then gave me a very thorough but sympathetic grilling, during which I learnt a lot. He came out with sensible suggestions, one of which was exercise, another was to drink more milk. And then said he would refer me to special exercise clinic King’s ran.
I then explained that after a series of falls I was now pretty immobile whilst I waited for them to heal, but I did find Hydrotherapy was do-able and enormously helpful. I go to King Edward VII, a private hospital for this, but if he could refer me to St. Thomas’, (an NHS hospital), I could get six free sessions there. He said he would (it’s in same Trust which makes it easy).
Incidentally when I went to St. Thomas’ I discovered that I could book hydrotherapy sessions at Guys (in the same Trust) once my six free sessions were over. The cost is £20 per session, and their service is also excellent.
After reviewing DEXA scans, the Consultant took time to explain what was happening to me now, and next steps in treatment. Then said he would see me again when he had results of blood tests; he had asked for so many that the vampires had a field day. I left to go home feeling this was the NHS at its very best: TLC allied to top professionalism. Added to which the Consultant had a sense of humour: always a good thing when faced with me and all my side effects!
- NHS rules and regs mean that if you want a Consultant to refer you to another hospital in the same Trust, they can. But if it is to a hospital outside their Trust ask them to write to your GP, and GP is obliged to do the referral.
- If going via your GP, normally they will want to refer you to a local hospital which they use – but if you want to go to a particular hospital, they have to respect your choice and refer you there, although you may find they try to persuade you to go to ‘their’ hospital. Be brave! Stick to your guns! It may take time, but as I found out, it’s worth it!