"Wythenshawe North West Hospital Unit"

About: Wythenshawe Hospital / Cardiology

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

For about 13-14 years, I’ve experienced what I can only describe as ‘attacks’ where I black out and become very aware of my heart, and breathless. Over the years the 'attacks' have continued but no-one (including the North West Heart Unit at Wythenshawe) was able to diagnose anything. Because of a previous brain haemorrhage I’m restricted on medication I can take and can’t have MRI scans.

Over the last five years, the attacks have become more frequent. At a routine GP appointment about 24 months ago, I asked for my blood pressure to be checked. Because the doctor couldn't find a pulse, I went to see the nurse who took an ECG and found nothing amiss.

I was referred back to the North West Hospital Unit and had a long waiting time when I arrived for this appointment. During the appointment, it turned out that my GP had not sent the ECG print out that had been taken previously at the surgery. I had to get a new appointment which resulted in delays in me being seen.

Eventually, eighteen months ago, I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (AF) and six months down the line I’ve had a cardiac loop recorder fitted. The ‘attacks’ keep coming and are recorded by the loop. So, I’ve had this AF diagnosis but I can’t take Warfarin because of my medical history.

The problem is, every time you go to the North West Hospital Unit, you see a different doctor, usually junior consultants and you have to wait months between appointments. I rarely get to see my consultant. Often, the junior consultants don’t have English as a first language and I really struggle to understand what they are saying. Once, a junior consultant got me mixed up with another patient. This is so concerning.

At one appointment, on arrival at the hospital, it was wasted because the doctor attending me hadn’t seen the letter with my AF diagnosis and wasted time telling me things that had already been explained to me and that I already knew.

Two or three weeks ago, a doctor said he would check out something with the arrhythmia specialist. I realised later that instead of checking with him, he had made a referral for me to see the specialist. This is resulting in another delay, this time of 2-3 months.

The last junior consultant I saw was extremely difficult to understand because English is his second language and he often speaks with his head lowered. This doctor misread a print out from my cardiac loop recorder and recommended a course of action that I know from doing research is not right. I had to tell him. It feels like you’re continually doing your job for them. He has now (three weeks ago) started talking about me having a Watchman device fitted and said something about next year. Because health professionals always stress the urgency of my condition and my high risk of stroke I asked him if the delay of a year was down to funding issues. He said “yes”. This worries me.

I’ve since checked the watchman device and Wythenshawe have only done 10. St Barts in London have done 700 so I’m asking if I can go to London to get it done instead. I’ve got no confidence in Wythenshawe. They are understaffed on consultants, too many patients and the delays are too long. I think people may die unnecessarily

So, nearly two years after my diagnosis, I’ve still not been prescribed any treatment.

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