"The locum rheumatology consultants ..."
About: Musgrove Park Hospital Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton TA1 5DA
What I liked
The locum rheumatology consultants were knowledgeable, mostly respectful, though mainly unable to express a detailed opinion with due regard to my clinical history. ie They didn't know me and maybe the notes are impossible to absorb in the short time they have for appointments.
What could be improved
The rheumatology department appears to be chronically underfunded. They need to appoint a competent permanent consultant. I haven't seen the same (locum) consultant twice since November 2007. They need also to appoint at least one and probably two specialist rheumatology nurses. These nurses do the routine examinations performed by consultants in earlier times, so the consultants rely on the information they provide. I have not seen a specialist rheumatology nurse since October 2008. It is important that chronic rheumatic conditions are monitored regularly to assess the efficacy of treatment and possible deterioration or improvement. A routine blood test alone is not sufficient. At least in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, effective treatment can vastly reduce pain and improve the patients quality of life, enabling him/her to earn a living and/or persue other activities which provide satisfaction, social benefit and improve the quality of life.
It is evident that rheumatology is a low priority area, probably because immediate deaths in this area are uncommon and do not inspire government targets as does surgery and consequent adverse political opinion.
In my opinion NHS hospital charges for out patient parking and inpatient visiting are exhorbitant, verging on punitive. It is a public disgrace that those forced to attend NHS hospitals, including the disabled, are compelled to pay high parking charges which result in profits for private companies as well as the NHS (which is supposedly free).