Frail pen­sioner calls for re­vamp of sys­tem af­ter ap­point­ment runaround

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A 75-YEAR- OLD man with chronic heart fail­ure is be­ing forced to travel 200 miles to at­tend a med­i­cal ap­point­ment a month af­ter he could have had the same at­ten­tion 12 miles from home.

David Pear­son, from Seil has al­ready waited more than three months to be seen by a con­sul­tant – de­spite the best ef­forts of his GP and med­i­cal prac­tice.

At the be­gin­ning of Au­gust Mr Pear­son, an Isle of Seil res­i­dent con­sulted his GP Dr Mi­randa Barkham at Eas­dale Med­i­cal Cen­tre with throat symp­toms.

Mr Pear­son was told by his GP that she would re­fer him to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinic as an ur­gent pa­tient.

Mr Pear­son said: ‘Sub­se­quently I re­ceived a let­ter from Lorn and the Is­lands hos­pi­tal out­pa­tients depart­ment to say they would not be able to of­fer me an ap­point­ment for at least 12 weeks, but that I could ap­ply to the Vale of Leven Hos­pi­tal, hope­fully to be seen ear­lier.’

It was not un­til Septem­ber 24 that Mr Pear­son got a let­ter offering him an ap­point­ment on De­cem­ber 16 at the Vale of Leven – a trip of 200 miles to the hos­pi­tal and back.

Mr Pear­son con­tin­ued: ‘I was speak­ing to Dr Barkham and said I was con­cerned that should I have can­cer­ous ma­te­rial in my throat it could metas­ta­size [spread] sev­eral times by De­cem­ber 16.

‘She car­ried out the ex­am­i­na­tion on Oc­to­ber 26 and said she would try to get an ear­lier ap­point­ment.

‘On Fri­day Oc­to­ber 30 I was tele­phoned by the prac­tice man­ager at Eas­dale Med­i­cal Prac­tice who told me she had been try­ing to get an ear­lier ap­point­ment at the Vale of Leven but had only suc­ceeded in bring­ing the date for­ward to De­cem­ber 9.

‘I said that as I had re­made an­other ap­point­ment at Glas­gow Royal In­fir­mary to co­in­cide with the ex­ist­ing one, I would let things stand.

‘I then asked when the next ENT clinic took place at Lorn and the Is­lands.’

Mr Pear­son found out that there was a clinic on Novem­ber 20 but that is was full and that the con­sul­tant will not ac­cept any one else to the list.

At that point Mr Pear­son learned that be­cause he had ‘cho­sen’ to go to Vale of Leven, he had been re­moved from the list to see the con­sul­tant in Oban.

He said: ‘If this is the sys­tem I feel it needs ur­gent re­vi­sion. I feel the surgery have done their best for me but the rest of the sys­tem is fall­ing down.’

Con­firm­ing the events, a spokes­woman at Eas­dale med­i­cal cen­tre said they were un­able to com­ment on any pa­tient within the prac­tice.

An NHS High­land spokesman aid: ‘Due to pa­tient con­fi­den­tial­ity we are un­able to com­ment on this spe­cific case.

‘How­ever, when a pa­tient is re­ferred by their GP for a first out­pa­tient con­sul­tant ap­point­ment we have a tar­get of see­ing the pa­tient within 12 weeks of the re­fer­ral be­ing re­ceived.

‘If we are un­able to of­fer them an ap­point­ment lo­cally within the 12 weeks we then look to pro­vide that pa­tient with an al­ter­na­tive from the spe­cial­ist hos­pi­tal (usu­ally in Glas­gow), which pro­vides our lo­cal ser­vice or they can de­cide to wait lo­cally for the next avail­able ap­point­ment slot.

‘ We will also be in con­tact with the pa­tient con­cerned to dis­cuss the is­sue fur­ther.’

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