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About the length of time until this hospital appointment?

(21 Posts)
Klayden Sun 14-Jun-15 11:27:57

In late 2013, DP had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was obese. He has worked very hard at changing his diet and exercising - a complete lifestyle overhaul. He's now a healthy weight with normal b/p and cholesterol levels. He was feeling so much better. However, recently, he's been experiencing shortness of breath when he exerts himself. He was managing to run at the gym for 30 mins and now he can't even walk up the stairs without puffing.

GP referred him for a chest x-ray and lung function tests. He got the letter from the hospital and the appt is just under 4 months away. I have no idea if this is reasonable or not. He said I'm being anxious and that he'll wait. I am worried about him though. That said, I am more than aware of the pressure the NHS is under and we don't want to kick up a fuss if this is standard and normal.

LIZS Sun 14-Jun-15 11:31:11

That sounds like a long way off. Isn't liver function just a blood test initially, which the surgery can organise. Was it flagged as urgent ?

Klayden Sun 14-Jun-15 11:34:14

No, lung function tests - some sort of breathing apparatus are required.

Rosa Sun 14-Jun-15 11:36:33

I would ask your GP if it is possible for a more urgent refferal - Understand your worry and I would be as well seeing as he has changed so drastically.

LIZS Sun 14-Jun-15 11:37:49

Sorry misread. Have they done the initial breathing tests (spirometric?) as for asthma.

ilovesooty Sun 14-Jun-15 11:38:03

Can't lung function tests be done at the GP? I know someone who's just had it done.

Sirzy Sun 14-Jun-15 11:40:00

For those particular tests that seems like a very long wait. When DS has had lung function tests done it has literally been a case of he has been sent from peads clinic/ward to the department and had it done with no wait. Same for x rays.

RevoltingPeasant Sun 14-Jun-15 11:40:45

I don't think it is U but I think it's sadly standard.

I have long term kidney disease and my consultant wanted to see me 6-8 w after DD was born as he was concerned pg might have affected my renal health.

She is 20w and the appt still hasn't taken place.

I'd ask for a more urgent referral but don't be surprised if the answer's no.

PtolemysNeedle Sun 14-Jun-15 11:42:22

I don't think it's reasonable to wait that long, but outpatient appointments are often given way in advance unfortunately. So it probably is standard and normal, but I don't think it's acceptable when we're supposed to have a high quality world class healthcare system.

thenightsky Sun 14-Jun-15 11:48:09

I book new outpatient referrals that come from GPs as part of my job.

I am now booking new patients for their initial assessment appointments for mid-October. We are that booked up it is impossible to book anyone sooner as there are just no slots sad

What is worth doing is giving the Consultant's secretary a ring and asking that you be contacted if anyone cancels. You will need to be able to get there quick though as people tend to cancel their appointments with less than an hour's notice! Sadly many people just don't turn up at all and waste the precious slots.

ragged Sun 14-Jun-15 11:57:08

What would it cost for OP to (phone Consultant's PA and) pay for private appt?

bigbluebus Sun 14-Jun-15 12:42:27

Surely the GP could just write out an x-ray card for him to take to the x-ray dept at the local hospital and then the GP could look at it on the computer within a day or 2 - that's how it works around here. At least then the GP is able to rule some stuff out without having to wait to see a consultant at the hospital.

Musicaltheatremum Sun 14-Jun-15 13:26:01

It does sound like he has been referred to a respiratory clinic., not just for tests. Where I am X-rays are within 24 hours and lung function tests done within a couple of weeks. Not all GP surgeries have spirometers as they are expensive and the health board don't buy them for us.
Has he had his full blood count checked? Anaemia would give you shortness of breath.

dixiechick1975 Sun 14-Jun-15 13:47:04

Does he have stridor - distinctive noise on inhale or exhale? I have tracheal stenosis (narrowing of airway) and your description of not doing stairs is exactly what people with this can't do. Often misdiagnosed as asthma or dismissed as unfit. Personally I'd call and see if you can get in sooner eg offer to take a cancellation. Over summer should be some cancellations with hols.

EthelDurant123 Sun 14-Jun-15 13:51:10

Husband waited six months for a neurologist appointment at Guy's London. There's a nationwide shortage apparently.

mike07 Sun 14-Jun-15 14:02:03

It does seem a long time to wait, but it seems that depending on what part of the country you live in governs how long you have to wait.
A few months ago i was having problems with my chest, the doctor sent me straight down to the chest clinic here in leeds. When all the xray results came back clear my doctor then logged on to the hospital website and booked me an appointment for the following week to see a chest specialist.
I was very impressed with the speed and efficiency of the sevice.
As others have said you having nothing to loose in ringing up and asking for an earlier appointment and if flexible maybe they have a cancellation list.
Good luck

Klayden Sun 14-Jun-15 14:52:45

I've just seen his letter and it is the respiratory clinic. DP is keen not to make a fuss and is pretty gutted about not being able to exercise but he's the sort of man who wouldn't go to the doctor unless a limb was hanging off.

dixiechick I googled stridor and it doesn't sound like that.

We could afford the private route. I shall gently encourage him to see the GP and discuss a private referral.

I was generally quite curious if this is normal. I know some specialties are very under resources, this must be one of them.

Sidge Sun 14-Jun-15 15:30:41

The chest x-ray should be done within a couple of weeks, but a routine specialist referral to a hospital clinic could take up to 18 weeks.

It could be worth asking if your GP surgery does spirometry (not all do as spirometers are expensive and not all practice nurses have the expertise to do it and interpret the results - and GPs can be rubbish at interpretation too!).

The spirometry results could be useful whilst waiting for the Respiratory Clinic appointment, along with bloods and the chest x-ray.

Debinaboat Sun 14-Jun-15 15:59:29

I agree with a pp that you should phone the clinic / dept and say that he is happy to attend at very short notice ,if there is a cancellation .
And if you are able , to say you only need an hour or so notice to be able to attend .
I have done this , nobody minds , and it can mean less appointment time is wasted .
4 months seems a long wait ,when there has been such a big change in his health ,

Klayden Sun 14-Jun-15 18:07:41

Is spirometry different to those peak flow things? I've had peak flow measured at my GP surgery before.

Sidge Sun 14-Jun-15 18:54:16

Yes spirometry is very different; it measures more things than just peak expiratory flow rate and ideally he should have reversibility too. This is where you do the spirometry, then have some salbutamol then do it again to see if it's made any difference and if so, how much.

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