Lockdown swiped away waiting lists
Now hospitals cautiously offer appointments again
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.Sikora 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)
- 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. .
- Don’t be afraid to chase up people/depts, as the NHS is extending time between appointments as a way of cost cutting.
- 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.
- 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!