Well it appears that phase two has been successful in that my appointment has been moved forward to 18th September from 1st November. So why do I feel just a little bit disappointed? Yes I've gained one and a half months, so now will only wait three months to see my Consultant. Don't get me wrong that is great news and I am really grateful to PALS for managing to bring it forward that much. However, struggling as I am, three months still feels a lifetime away.
It is also strange how the first available appointment was 1st November when Eric phoned up and spoke to the Pain Clinic. The earliest available appointment mysteriously became 18th September as soon as PALS got involved. There may still be hope. The letter I received today with the new appointment was written on Friday, so my Consultant will not have yet received the letter from my GP. Will it move again once the Consultant reads my GP's letter? No, I'm not holding my breath either...
It does raise a wider issue, namely just how flawed the NHS appointment booking for outpatients is. There seems to be no consideration given to the severity of the patient's illness. It really is a case of first come first served, and if something happens so you cannot be seen (through no fault of your own) you just get shoved right back to the very end of the line. You would have thought that some slack would be built in to allow for those, who are urgently in need of help, to be booked in at short notice. Not this moveable feast, depending on who happens to speak to those booking it. Particularly if, as seems to be case with me, my GP either has no idea what to prescribe, or is not allowed to prescribe something that might help.
Assuming the appointment remains at 18th September, it would be wonderful if my Consultant wrote back, or God forbid, got on the phone to my GP, and suggested something that we can try in the ensuing time.That would be immensely helpful and the three months that lie ahead of me would pass a little quicker. Sadly I'm not holding my breath about that either..