"5 months to see a doctor"

About: St Albans City Hospital

Anything else?

I was referred to the fertility clinic in June this year. I heard nothing for 4 weeks and was then phoned asking if I could come for an appointment the week after. I said this would not be possible as I was on holiday that week. I was told that as there was a 5 week target between referral and first appointment they might have to reffer me back to my gp to be re-referred. I said that was not acceptable given the delay in contacting me initally and pursuaded them to give me an appointment the week after I got back. The appointment was with a nurse. I did not have a problem with this as it may well be a good use of resources for taking histories ordering tests etc. My gp did say that some of these tests were pointlessly repeated as she had already done them and included the details in the referral. The nurse said they needed to get a sperm test done on my husband. She told us how to arrange that and said she would book a follow up apointment with the consultant. So far everything had been ok. The shock came when the letter arrived giving a date for the follow up appointment 4 months in to the future. I phoned to ask if I could get anything sooner and was told the fertility clinic was a very 'popular' service and that there were long waits. I then received another letter putting the appointment back another 2 weeks. I still havn't had the appointment so I can comment on the treatment received by the doctor. I am a bit concerned that they will want to do a laparoscopy and I will just join another long waiting list. I understand that the nhs has limited resources. If I had been told at the start that there was a five month wait for the fertility clinic I might have accepted this. However it seems that the wait for receiving actual treatment is hidden. The target is measured against the appointment with the nurse and no one measures how long it takes to actually be prescibed a treatment. My gp told me that this is the only fertility clinic in the area. I get the impression that the clinic has no incentive to improve the situation as they have no competition. My recommendation for anyone requiring fertility treatment in the area would be to see if you could be referred somewhere in london.

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Responses

Response from Antony Tiernan, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Communications and corporate affairs, West Herfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Antony Tiernan

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

I am sorry that we have not been able to give you an earlier appointment and would ask that you contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so that they can look into it for you.

The PALS staff will liaise with the fertility team and will be able to get a detailed response to the concerns and questions you have raised. They will be able to explain the reason for the timings of your appointments and how they fit, as appropriate, with Government and local waiting time targets.

The PALS team can be called on 01923 244 366 or email pals@whht.nhs.uk.

I hope this helps, but feel free to contact me if you need to. My email is antony.tiernan@whht.nhs.uk or you can tweet me: @AntonyTiernan.

For more information about the work of our hospitals visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk or follow us on Twitter: @westhertsNHS.

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Response from St Albans City Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I am sorry that we have not been able to give you an earlier appointment and would ask that you contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so that they can look into it for you. The PALS staff will liaise with the fertility team and will be able to get a detailed response to the concerns and questions you have raised. They will be able to explain the reason for the timings of your appointments and how they fit, as appropriate, with Government and local waiting time targets. The PALS team can be called on 01923 244 366 or email pals@whht.nhs.uk. I hope this helps, but feel free to contact me if you need to. My email is antony.tiernan@whht.nhs.uk or you can tweet me: @AntonyTiernan. For more information about the work of our hospitals visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk or follow us on Twitter: @westhertsNHS. Antony Tiernan, Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications

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