Lockdown swiped away waiting lists

Now hospitals cautiously offer appointments again

Lovesick Cartoon Figure Sitting Watching A Phone Stock ...I am now starting to get phone calls from physios and consultants saying they can restore a cancelled appointment – with caution.  So, if you are desperately wanting an appointment, but haven’t had a call yet, don’t sit back and wait for this to happen.  Phone and ask what is happening, .
I’ve been offered appointments for Sept, October and February 2021! with the proviso that they might have to be re-scheduled.  Being on the list I reckon gives me ‘squatter’s rights’ to then phone and ask if there is an earlier slot.
                                                                                                                                There is always cost cutting in the NHS, which will mean a lot of juggling over waiting lists once the NHS is up and running. Just make sure it isn’t you that loses out by being too late. 
 Kris Hallenga, founder of charity CoppaFeel says, “You think there is a clear road map . Image result No-one tells you how pro-active you have to be“. She is right, listening to her, she kept on top of her treatment and wasn’t afraid to ask.
And as a noted Oncologist told me, “those who take control of their own care have a better outcome”.
Hospitals were empty during lockdown
I honestly don’t think one can fault the NHS for the fact that there were some hospitals left empty:  Nightingale hospitals, private hospitals etc.  For once I don’t blame the NHS as they needed to plan for horrendous eventualities.  We would all have suffered if there hadn’t been these empty spaces to take patients if it had all gone pear-shaped.
Luckily it didn’t, although we can’t rule out a spike happening.  Let’s hope it doesn’t.
However, the NHS is waking up after its massive lockdown, so get in there quick before everyone else does.
What’s it like now?
I had four hospital visits in the past three months, and each time the process was seamless.  Staff had time to laugh and joke (even behind masks), and when one Consultant came out to find me waiting for hospital transport home, he fetched me a cup of tea as he was sorry I had to wait – all of 20 minutes!  Normally the wait was 90 – 120 minutes
Understanding how to climb up appointments ladder

Prof. Karola Sikora, world-renowned cancer specialist, has written a book  “The Street-wise Patient’s Guide to Surviving Cancer” in which he warns patients that, contrary to what they think, the NHS is not there to help individuals, and they cannot simply trust their doctors and medical team to ensure that they get the best available treatment in a timely manner.Image result for Karol Sikora royalty free imageSikora  has worked in medicine for 40 years, originally in the NHS,  then in a senior job in the World Health Organisation, and now privately.  Often quoted on new initiatives for cancer treatment, he is passionate about better care for patients.  And in his book, that means no unnecessary waiting for treatment.

In other words it is up to the patient to ensure they get the best treatment possible for THEM – don’t sit back and expect your GP to do this for you.  He/she does not have time.  If you are a patient, you either make a fuss when things don’t go well (what you should do, according to senior Consultants).  Or take the consequences.

So here is some of Karol Sikora’s advice (with comments from me)

  1. Negotiate for best treatment – if no appointments available, ask to be referred to another hospital.  You DON’T have to go to the one your GP selects, although they will want you to go to their preferred hospital.  You can Google waiting times, or name of consultant, etc.  Stick to your guns and INSIST – you have the right. .
  2. Don’t be afraid to chase up people/depts, as the NHS is extending time between appointments as a way of cost cutting.
  3. If you don’t get satisfaction, put the phone down and try a few minutes later.  Many hospitals outsource their appointments system to a Call Centre, or their department is so huge you won’t get the same person (unless you are incredibly unlucky).  The new person may have received a cancellation so can slot you in.
  4. Once you have a date and time, accept it.  You are in the system.  A few days later you can phone back and again ask “have you had any cancellations?” and keep on doing this until you get an earlier slot.

And Good Luck!

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