"Test Results"

(as a relative),

We have been with the same surgery for a long time, and have a good relationship with the staff, but when tested by a larger health problem, we found worrying gaps in the administration process. As we get older, we expect more problems, but possibly less energy to chase them. Is the chasing necessary?

My wife has recently been diagnosed with a condition that will require a major operation. But it has taken a long while. Part of the problem (and a source of delay and inefficiency) has been the method of dealing with test results.

The first problem was the notion that 'if you hear nothing, there is no problem'. My wife realised that this was a bad idea when, still in pain, she arranged a second GP appointment, and found out that the first test results had gone missing.

A few months later, and after more tests, she knew to phone up to check that the results had arrived. This was not easy. The lady in charge of communicating the test results is only available in the early afternooon. This proved to be tricky as my wife works full time.

The initial response was that we should not cause hassle as the lady had been on holiday, and was catching up. This has been the subject of a separate, direct complaint. But there was still evidence of more focus being required, and detail being missed in the rush.

At the subsequent GP appointment, (made as a result of the problem getting the second test results), my wife was quickly referred on for further tests. The test findings had suggested paying attention to the possibility of neoplastic changes showing on the X-ray. The administrative delays in the process were increasing the risks. The test , following the GP appointment ,was done very quickly, but still no firm diagnosis was made.

When six months had elapsed, we decided to spend £300 going private, getting an X-ray and diagnosis on the same day. X ray went straight to consultant, consultant had a look, and called her back in for a chat. The process is not complicated.

Some of the months of pain endured had nothing to do with resources available, or offerred, but more to do with administrative hiccups. How will this change?

I have no axe to grind, but I do want to point out how avoidable administrative delays got in the way of what could have been a better diagnostic process. I acknowledge that I do not know all the facts.

I hope that this feedback is useful.

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