About: West Middlesex University Hospital West Middlesex University Hospital Isleworth TW7 6AF
Having discovered a problem with my breast (a small, painful lump at skin level) during pregnancy, I was relieved to receive a quick referral to the breast clinic by my GP. In the cloud of anxiety that I'm sure every woman feels in these circumstances I attended the hospital, with the guidelines that had been posted to me in my hand, fully expecting a thorough examination and, if necessary, mammogram/ultrasound etc as had been described in the notes. The breast exam I was given was brief, less than a minute, no raising of arms, and not comparable with past experience. I want to be reassured by the doctor's words, but in reality I don't know if this is something I should be concerned about. I was told while there was no obvious cause for concern, I would need an ultrasound and further consultation. Nearly two weeks later I am none the wiser as to when this will be. I am seven months pregnant and worried for many inevitable reasons - on a simple practical level, as it stands I'm not sure if this sore lump is going to impact on my ability to breastfeed. I called the department and was told there is a 'backlog', I haven't even been scheduled for an appointment yet. I'm aware of the strains on the NHS, and am sure there are women with far greater worries than mine. However, I did understand that NHS guidelines indicated that a patient in these circumstances should be seen within two weeks - if the brief appointment I had is supposed to fulfill this requirement then it is little more than a box ticking exercise.