"Once one can get into the system, it is fantastic."
About: Northwick Park Hospital Northwick Park Hospital Harrow HA1 3UJ
Posted by Anne Wade
It was very difficult to get into the system. My GP missed my heart attacks last spring, giving me morphine for the pain in my arms and across my back. I assumed my increased breathlessness over the summer was a deterioration of my post-polio condition. When an x-ray showed pulmonary oedema and an enlarged heart, I asked for a cardiology appointment. When an incidental ECG in another context showed I had had a heart attack, it proved impossible to speed up the appointment. I was told that there was a 5mth waiting list for an echocardiogram so I paid for one, and was told I was in congestive heart failure and needed urgent treatment. I still could not get an earlier appointment.
I had a consultation in January and an angiogram in February. Everyone was superb. I am a nurse, and very quick to be critical. No-one could be faulted at any point. Neighbours have said it is always the same.
I think small ECG and portable echocardiogram machines, with specialised nurses, should be widely available in GP practices and the community, to reduce the overload on an excellent cardiology department and improve rates of early diagnosis.