"Poor communication between services"
About: Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Chelsea & Westminster Hospital London SW10 9NH
I started treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in 2009. Treatment went well although information regarding tests & medications were not shared with my GP who frequently wrote to me asking me to come in for blood tests to monitor the long term use of medications being prescribed although I was having the blood tests done by the hospital on a regular basis. In 2014 hospital blood tests revealed I had developed a liver problem due to long term use of the RA medications which was then changed. A subsequent scan revealed growths had also developed on my adrenal glands and I was referred to the endocrinology department where I underwent further tests at the beginning of December 2014. Just before Christmas I received a phone call from the endocrinologist saying I had to come and pick up a prescription for another medication and I explained I was on my way to the airport for a 2 week Christmas break. She was very insistent that I get this prescription immediately and she suggested a family member collect it on my behalf and send the medications to me at my holiday destination. Her tone caused me great anxiety and I asked her if it was safe for me to travel or was I likely to drop dead because of the way she was talking and she said no and I should contact her on my return. I contacted her 2 weeks later when I got back and arranged to collect the prescription but I wanted to know what it was for as she had not given me any information regarding the results of the tests done in early December. She sent a brief e mail with some information. When I went to pick up the prescription the receptionist also gave me a scruffy hand written note written by the endocrinologist saying she suspected I had other problems somewhere else in the body which is called para-gangliomas and she wanted me to have a whole body scan and here is a form to make an appointment with the radiology - nuclear medicine dept. I was shocked and left extremely anxious by the contents of the note - surely this is something that should have been discussed and explained in person face to face so any questions could be answered? Between my GP, the rheumatology team and the endocrinology team there appears to be little or no communication or sharing of information. Each one is requesting tests for blood & urine and not passing results to the other or informing me of the results either. In December I had 4 blood tests in one week, all different requests. It seems they have forgotten that patients are people with real lives, anxieties and feelings. I feel I have become a statistic in the NHS and I have no confidence that I am getting the best treatment as none of them are talking to each other but each doing their own thing and that I am developing additional health complications as a result of what seems to be poor co-ordination between departments and no communication between them and from which I am being excluded. I am writing this at 3 a.m as the experience is causing me sleepless nights.