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Should I go private or wait?

(5 Posts)
lumpety Mon 11-Apr-16 09:24:11

I'm waiting for an endocrinologist appointment so I can be referred for a FNA of a thyroid nodule. It's through the public system, where the wait for this sort of appointment can be up to 90 days (if they meet their targets, longer if not). They can't tell me when I might get in.

So I don't drip feed (I can't find the report so from memory): it's a single nodule, reasonably well marginated, quite vascular, around 3.5cm x 2.5cm x 1.5 cm, with a heterogeneous echoic texture. I have no symptoms and my bloods were all normal.

I'm sure it's got larger since my ultrasound about 3 and a half weeks ago - it wasn't visible at the time unless I swallowed (neither GP nor ultrasonographer could see it to begin with), but now it's always visible.

I wasn't too bothered to begin with but I'm starting to feel that a wait that long just for a diagnosis is too much. We're not well off, hence the public system referral, but we could stretch to pay for a single private appointment just for the FNA referral. Would it be worth paying to get it out of the way? How long have others had to wait for their biopsies after finding a suspicious nodule?

PollyPerky Mon 11-Apr-16 13:12:54

What is your main worry- that it's not benign or it's growing?

What's an FNA referral?

You can't guarantee that paying to see a consultant will enable you to queue jump when they refer you back to the NHS for that test. This is something you would need to ask their secretary so you have some idea of how long the wait might be. Are you saying that the consultant you;d see privately would be the one doing the test and they would put you higher up the list because you had seen them privately? This doesn't always happen. It might, but it might not- depends on their workload.

lumpety Mon 11-Apr-16 13:45:08

I'm concerned that it may not be benign. I need a referral for a fine needle aspiration (FNA) to find out, which has to come from an endocrinologist, not a GP. If it is malignant 3 months is a bloody long time to wait to find that out.

I'm in Australia so not having to deal with the NHS. If I briefly went private I could get the FNA done with the private endo's referral and find out if it's malignant, but stay engaged with the public system for treatment if it's needed. The public hospital doesn't care where the diagnosis comes from, they'd treat me anyway, and I'm already in their system. Seeing a private doctor wouldn't remove me from the public list.

There'd be no queue jumping. The test would be done at a private radiologist but subsidised by the government due to my financial situation.

I'm just reluctant to spend money that we don't really have spare if this sort of wait is normal and it's something I shouldn't be worrying about.

PollyPerky Mon 11-Apr-16 14:17:27

That explains it! I thought you were outside the UK because we'd not refer to the 'public system'- we'd say NHS.

I think your first paragraph answers your own question. You will only know with hindsight if it's malignant. Even if other posters say 'oh I waited for 4 months and mine was fine...' it doesn't address your personal dilemma as everyone is different.

If you are worried and have the cash, spend it- what's more important than health when it comes to spending money?

lumpety Mon 11-Apr-16 22:26:00

Thanks Polly. I was veering towards that conclusion. Sometimes it's helpful to hear someone else echo your own thoughts. I thought maybe I was being overly paranoid about it.

I'll give one of the private places a call today and see what it would set me back to go see them.

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