Shock over three-month wait for cancer exam
Woman told initially she could wait three months
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