"12 weeks for breast screening appointment"

About: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Victoria Infirmary / General Surgery

(as the patient),

At the start of August 2015 I discovered a lump in my right breast. I made an appointment with my GP and was seen towards the end of August. The GP asked a few questions before he quickly examination my breast. I was not asked to remove my bra, merely lift it up slightly (the lump is based at the bottom of my breast near the underwire of my bra). After he felt my armpit (no lumps) and asked if there was any history of breast cancer in my family (there is not) the GP told me he ‘thought’ it was probably a cyst however to err on the side of caution he would refer me for a breast screen. He said he didn’t know whether it would be an ultrasound or mammogram as I am borderline with my age. I wasn’t provided any further information at this time other than I would receive a letter with a date to attend the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. The GP said it could take up to 6 weeks.

6 weeks to the date I contact my local GP to say I had not heard anything. The receptionist provided myself with the general phone number for Victoria Infirmary and suggested I contacted them. I phoned immediately and was re-directed to the appointment centre. I spoke very briefly with a female, who I assume to be a secretary/receptionist. She stated that it could take up to 12 weeks for a ‘routine appointment’.

Week 9 I attended in person at my Medical Practice and informed them I was anxious and very worried at the length of time it was taking to receive an appointment. I also explained that I had changed my life insurance company just before I found my lump and when I received the letter from the company to confirm that I had not been referred for any x-rays etc I replied stating that I was awaiting an appointment due to finding a lump (to date I’m still not covered for the life insurance as they are awaiting for the results before they will continue with the cover). The receptionist stated she would speak to the GP and contact the hospital to see if they could obtain a date for my appointment. I contacted them the following day for an update. I was informed the Senior Practitioner said it could take up to 12 weeks for an appointment.

Week 10 my husband attended the Medical Practice to express his concerns at the length of time and that it was not a satisfactory service I was receiving. The receptionist made an appointment for myself later that day with the Senior Consultant. When I attended it was the original GP from my first appointment. I told him that he originally informed me it would be 6 weeks and now we are 10 weeks down the line and no appointment. He asked if anything had changed in my body/lump etc (no change, other than becoming very emotional due to anxiety, worry and stress of the unknown). At this time he said the hospital were ‘duty obliged’ to see me within 12 weeks, I replied that it was highly unlikely that this would happen as it was 10 weeks down the line and no appointment. I left the appointment deflated at the lack of concern.

I am now into week 11 and still no appointment! ! I fell at a complete loss and extremely frustrated at the time it is taking to receive an appointment. I am a mother of 2 young children and very worried.

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear LMac,

Thank you for getting in touch, and for your follow up email with more information. I have been trying today to reply directly to you, however my emails don't seem to be getting through to you as I keep getting error messages.

I just wanted to let you know that I am looking into this urgently for you and have been in touch with the heads of the service to facilitate this - I am so disappointed that you have had to wait this time, particularly without any proactive communication or information. While I'm afraid that despite best efforts I have been unable to get more specific information for you today, I hope that this provides at least a little reassurance that someone is looking into this urgently for you and that I will get some information to you as soon as possible. If you receive this, I would appreciate if you could get in touch with me, either by email with an alternative email address which I can contact you on, or with a telephone number.

Many thanks,


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