"Specialist made assumptions without even seeing me"

About: The Royal Liverpool University Hospital

(as the patient),

OK - so the medics at Whiston Hospital were sufficiently concerned that they felt I needed to be seen by an Immunologist and so I was referred to an Immunologist at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital by a Dermatologist who I saw at Whiston. So I've waited 13 days now since I was discharged and I haven't received a letter from anyone yet, so I did what the doctor I saw on the ward advised me to do and I phoned the Immunologist's Secretary to enquire whether my referral had been received. She said that the Immunologist didn't think he needed to see me as I was responding to treatment given at Whiston. I was amazed that he could assume that without even speaking to me or seeing me because, in fact, the rash started re-appearing about 8 days ago despite me being on large doses of antihistamines. I told his secretary that and she went and spoke to him, came back and said "You're on his list for Allergy Clinic." The questions I'd like to ask are:- 1. Where is the consideration for the patient here? 2. How can a Specialist make assumptions that I has responded to treatment or continued to respond to treatment without even speaking with or seeing me? 3. I was told quite honestly at Whiston Hospital that while they would do everything possible to stabilise my condition, they didn't have the expertise to diagnose my condition accurately and they felt a Specialist in Immunology was the right way to go for investigations. So they have done their best and done their job and referred me to a Specialist whom they believe it's appropriate for me to see. My question then is, if my GP and Doctors at Whiston Hospital are baffled by this rash and don't feel they have the expertise to diagnose and treat me themselves and have, therefore, referred me to a Specialist in Immunology and Allergy, why can I then be refused to be seen by him on the assumption that I've responded to treatment without even holding a conversation with him or being seen by him? That absolutely baffles me. 4. I believe it was only because I advised his secretary that in fact, the rash was returning more and more each day despite medication, did she come back with the message "You're on his list for Allergy Clinic." I don't know when my appointment is for that clinic and I'd like to be advised of that well in advance, not 2 weeks before as I was told by Broadgreen when I enquired about my referral to Dermatology back in early July. 5. I'm a former Medical Secretary myself so I'm aware of the 18 Week Clock with all it's complicated stoppings and startings, and I'm also aware of how referrals and people get lost in the NHS system etc - and I'd like the doctors to whom I've been referred to remember that I'm also a PATIENT and I'm actually very worried about this rash and it's possible causes and the possible internal damage that may have already been happening long before the rash appeared in May 2010 and would appreciate being seen by a Specialist and having the opportunity to discuss it with him before he decides whether I'm responding to treatment. As so often happens, the patient is sometimes overlooked while doctors correspond with each other about us. 6. If I've been told I'm being referred to a Specialist then I expect to be seen by that Specialist. I don't expect to be batted back and forth between Specialist, GP and Hospital, to be told that one thing will happen and then told that no, actually that won't happen. I'm a human being - not an NHS number or statistic and I could do without the added stress at the moment.
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Response from Stacy Smith, PALS Officer, NHS Knowsley

Dear Grace3

The PALS Team at the Royal Liverpool Hospital would like to speak to you to discuss your concerns. Could you please contact them on 0151 706 4903.


Stacy Smith

PALS Officer

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