"Long delay in referral to gastroenterology clinic"

About: Liverpool PCT

(as the patient),

For a couple of years now I've had gastro issues, abdominal pains, a combination of diahorrhea and constipation, and after a colonoscopy (no other tests were done) I was told that I had IBS. More recently these symptoms were also accompanied by mucus and dark red blood in the stools, as well as tarry black stools (which indicate internal bleeding) and this raised a red flag with me and so I attended my doctor to get help.

At the time I went to the doctor I was seen by a locum (one of about five different locums I had seen over approx 6 months) as my regular GP was again unavailable. My symptoms were discussed and I was sent for blood tests. Three times I gave blood, with 1 test coming back abnormal, 2nd inconclusive, 3rd normal (each time I came back I was seen again by a different locum).

Upon returning the final time I was then referred for ultrasound scans of my abdomen, specifically focussing on my gall bladder. As the ultrasound came back normal, but I was still experiencing symptoms, I insisted that I have a second opinion from someone more specialized and so in November 2011, the Doctor agreed to make the referral to the Gastroenterology Clinic so I thought that was that.

I then attended the Doctors for a separate issue a few weeks later and happened to mention to the Doctor that I hadn't received the usual 'Choose and Book' documents but he insisted that the referral had been done and that I should wait a while longer- so I did.

Realising I was now in January 2012 and still hadn't heard anything, I called the doctors to chase up my referral. It was then I was told that the referral letter had been requested but had remained on the system and was yet to be signed off by the doctor. At this point I was extremely angry that I had been made to wait so long but I was assured that the receptionist would have to doctor sign it off that afternoon and that I wouldn't need to call back.

It's now 10th February 2012, and again I called my doctors to chase up my appointment. I was then told by the receptionist that she couldn't see it on the system and that she would call me back ASAP. So I waited. She didn't call back so I called back several hours later.

This time I was told that the referral request had been found but that it still needs to be authorised by the practice Doctor, who isn't available until Monday. I explained to her the situation and the fact that I have been displaying these alarming symptoms for the past 3 months. She apologised for the delay and has also pencilled me in for a consultation with the doctor.

I am still waiting for my referral some 3 months from my initial request! I am upset, angry and scared that whatever is going on may have been exacerbated because of this considerable delay.

I am usually a great advocate of the NHS and have the highest respect for anybody who can devote themselves into caring for others but I feel I have been continually let down.

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