The NHS 12 Week Wait.

There is a 12 week wait for the Pain clinic at my local hospital. That is, there are no appointments being offered as there are none available for the next 12 weeks, so I am somewhere quite a way down on the waiting list for appointments after that date. I take that to mean, the wait is in fact much longer than 12 weeks. I can travel for hours to another hospital, and have all my pain treatment at that hospital, and if I do that, I can have an appointment on 28th April 2013, but cannot then transfer to my local hospital when there is an appointment available.

The woman at the central referral unit that deal with referrals from GPs to the various hospital outpatient services in the South Devon area was very apologetic. She clearly has a lot of abuse from patients a lot of the time as I had to ask her to stop apologising. She said she felt terrible not being able to offer an appointment to the Pain Clinic to people who are clearly in a lot of pain. She advised me to ask my GP to write a letter stressing the level of pain I am in, but also gently suggested not to get my hopes up as, given that all the patients referred to the pain clinic are in fact in the same boat, they will all be doing the same thing.

She also told me, cautiously, that the 12-15 week wait I was told to expect for my neurosurgery consultant appointment date was overly optimistic. ‘sorry’ she said, again.

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