Shock over three-month wait for can­cer exam

Woman told ini­tially she could wait three months

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALIS­TAIR MUNRO

Health chiefs have apol­o­gised af­ter a 61-year-old woman with sus­pected can­cer of the womb was told she would have to wait “two to three months” for an emer­gency ex­am­i­na­tion in hos­pi­tal. Mary Hen­der­son, of Gair­loch, was shocked when her GP told her she could have can­cer.

Health chiefs have apol­o­gised af­ter a 61-year-old woman with sus­pected can­cer of the womb was told she would have to wait “two to three months” for an emer­gency ex­am­i­na­tion in hos­pi­tal.

Mary Hen­der­son, of Gair­loch, was shocked when her GP told her she could have can­cer.

Her ini­tial worry es­ca­lated to anger af­ter dis­cov­er­ing she might have to wait months for an ex­am­i­na­tion.

NHS High­land has now apol­o­gised and con­firmed an ap­point­ment for Mrs Hen­der­son. But it is more than six weeks af­ter her ini­tial GP visit which her husband Peter, 64, has blasted as “lu­di­crous”.

He said: “We are sit­ting here wor­ried sick not know­ing whether or not Mary has can­cer. I think wait­ing times for emer­gency ap­point­ments for pos­si­ble can­cer are out­ra­geous.”

The cou­ple’s or­deal be­gan on Oc­to­ber 15 when Mrs Hen­der­son fell ill and went to her GP who was con­cerned a pos­si­ble out­come was she could have can­cer of the womb.

Mr Hen­der­son said: “The doc­tor ar­ranged with Raig­more Hos­pi­tal gy­nae­col­ogy depart­ment for an emer­gency ap­point­ment and re­as­sured us that we should get a let­ter or phone call within the next few days, and if we hadn’t heard by two weeks to get back in touch with her.

“Two weeks passed with no con­tact. The doc­tor con­tacted the hos­pi­tal again to be told that we may have to wait for two or three months for an emer­gency ap­point­ment.

“This I found to­tally un­ac­cept­able and e-mailed a com­plaint to the NHS ask­ing that they ac­knowl­edge it and give me a re­sponse as soon as they could. As yet I have had nei­ther an ac­knowl­edge­ment nor re­sponse.”

He then turned to Ed­ward Moun­tain MSP for help. When the Press and Jour­nal con­tacted the NHS this week it was con­firmed an emer­gency ap­point­ment had been made for Novem­ber 27.

Mr Hen­der­son said: “We are thank­ful Mary will now be seen, thanks to the pa­per and our MSP. But we think six weeks is too long when you are talk­ing can­cer.”

An NHS High­land spokesman said: “NHS High­land does not com­ment on in­di­vid­ual cases. We can ap­pre­ci­ate that any de­lay must be very distress­ing and we have been in touch with the pa­tient to apol­o­gise and to con­firm their ap­point­ment.

“We can­not al­ways see pa­tients within 14 days of re­fer­ral, how­ever, we have a good record of meet­ing the na­tional stan­dard of 62 days from re­fer­ral to treat­ment in the ma­jor­ity of our can­cer types and all cases are in­ves­ti­gated on the ba­sis of clin­i­cal ur­gency.”

Mr Moun­tain said: At times like this a prompt re­sponse from NHS High­land would have al­layed con­cerns, but sadly, they were some­what slower than they usu­ally are.

“I’m de­lighted that she now has her ap­point­ment.”

WORRY: Peter and Mary Hen­der­son are an­gry at wait­ing time for an ex­am­i­na­tion

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