"I now know that if it happens again to go straight to A&E."

About: Freeman Hospital / Cardiology The Royal Victoria Infirmary / Cardiology

(as the patient),

I was sure that there was something wrong with me in November 2011. My heart was beating erratically so I went to my GP who told me to go to the Freeman Hospital for an ECG. This showed that I had persistent atrial fibrilation. I was given some bisoporal and told to see my GP which I did the next day. He put me on aspirin and I was told to wait to see a cardiologist and I waited six weeks for this, all the time feeling anxious and worried. During the six weeks I went to the GP twice to ask to be put on warfarin because of the risk of stroke but this was refused. I saw the cardiologist and was then put on warfarin and told I could have a cardioversion when my international normalised ratio was within range for four weeks.

This took until April the following year. The time delay was worrying me because I thought that it might be difficult to get my heart rhythm back to normal after such a long time. I went into Atrial Fibrillation in January probably due to alcohol which I totally avoid now and went to A&E. They immediately put me on an anti-coagulant and other drugs and was discharged to get my international normalised ratio in range for four weeks. This took 2 months (March 2014) and I am still in normal sinus rhythm.

When I look back I believe I was left in a potentially risk situation without an anticoagulant despite being in persistent Atrial Fibrillation. I now know that if it happens again to go straight to A&E. Otherwise it will take weeks and weeks to get cardiology care.

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Response from The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry that you are dissatisfied with the level of service provided by the Trust and that you have experienced a wait for your treatment which is causing you concern.

As your posting is anonymous we are unable to conduct a detailed investigation and offer you a full response, however if you would like to contact Liz Bailey the Cardiothoracic Directorate Manager directly on 0191 2137672 we would be happy to investigate your concerns fully so that we can provide you with the relevant information on the issues that you have raised.

Please be assured that we welcome all feedback from patients and their relatives as we always strive to improve our service and are very keen to respond to you in person.