Thursday, 28 July 2011

I Just Want An Answer

On the 20th of June I felt fairly optimistic.  The Doctor had ideas for my next IVF and there was just one hysteroscopy standing between me and my next shot at getting pregnant. But then nothing, no appointment and no copy of the referral letter (I had requested to be cc-d on all correspondence).

In my quest to discover whether I have been referred for a hysteroscopy I have (in no particular order):

  • Rung my old clinic at the NHS. But as I am not in their system they don't know if I have been referred.
  • Rung the number of the hysteroscopy clinic where, if I have been referred, I would have been referred to. But they don't reply to my voicemail messages.
  • Found another number for the hysteroscopy department and left a different answer phone message on a different phone. Again no response.
  • Emailed my consultant directly to see if he can let me know whether he has, as he said in his letter, referred me. But he hasn't answered.
  • Called the Consultant's secretary at the private clinic, who I paid £200 for an appointment with the same Doctor I saw on the NHS. She told me that he would have referred me in his capacity as an NHS consultant, not a private consultant, so she wouldn't have a record of the afore-mentioned referral.
  • As Wig suggested I've seen my local doctor (GP) but she (the Doctor, not Wig) has had no correspondence from the consultant since July 2010 so - even though I showed her the letter from the Consultant saying he would refer me - she can't refer me.
  • Got the husband to check with his work health insurance (which I am covered under) to see if I can get the hysteroscopy privately.  But I can't as it for an on-going condition.
  • Investigated the cost of having a hysteroscopy privately (£1,375 to £2,130). I could afford it, but not as a precursor to IVF which is likely to cost in the region of £7,000.

I am now completely out of ideas as to where to try next.

The womb-mate, an NHS insider, suggests writing a complaint - but I am reluctant to lodge a complaint against someone who, at some point, will be elbow-deep in my bits.

I am fed up of how much time, and energy, and stress, and patience each step takes, particularly at the moment when work is also doing its best to add to my stress whilst using up my time, energy, patience.

Other than starting again and going back to each person / answer phone and asking the same question, I am at a loss as to what to do next. Anyone else got any bright ideas about what I can do next to try and find out whether I've been referred?

Runes, maybe?


  1. How deeply deeply frustrating. I suggest just turning up at his NHS clinic when you are "just passing" on a day he is likely to be in and finding a human being to talk to. It's more difficult to give you the run around if you are standing in front of someone. I've tried this method in the past with some success.

  2. I don't even know how you stand it. You need a gold medal. What happens to your records it doesn't make sense. you almost need to go on a current affairs program where the interviewer shoves a microphone in the face of your specialist and says "when is she having a hysteroscopy??". i am sorry though you definitely do not deserve this shit.

  3. As Betty M said, the only way it would appear that you'll be able to speak to an acutal person is if you show up at their desk and make them talk to you.

    Seriously, what's wrong with the Consultant's secretary? That's just double-speak for I'm not willing to look for the information or tell you who might have it.

    Good luck, Liz.

  4. Wow. I can't believe how difficult this is. It seems like you've done everything possible and this is ridiculous. I hope you have some better luck soon. All you're asking is for a returned phone call!

  5. You are really getting the run around!

    I agree with those above who suggested that you stage a sit-in. You paid for the consultation, so you deserve the right to the referral without having to pay for another consultation.

  6. Squeaky wheel, ya know, call them all again, daily if necessary, ugh sorry you are going through this!

  7. OK, things I can think of are:

    1) Phone your consultant. If he's anything like my husband (who is a consultant too), he gets literally hundreds of emails per day on his work email address, and I'm not exaggerating. Yours might have just got lost in the email crush. You could try phoning the hospital switchboard and asking them to put you through to him on his mobile. They may not agree to do this (technically they're not supposed to) but relatively often they do. You could try the whole "I'm really worried about these pre-cancerous cells" thing and that might scare them into putting you through to him.

    2) Phone your consultant's NHS secretary. I'm assuming from what you've written that he has different NHS and private secretaries. Phone switch and ask them to put you through to Mr X's secretary. They will. She (am being horribly sexist here assuming his secretary is female...) is probably the best-placed person to chase him until he does it, and if you get on her good side, most consultant's DO NOT want to piss off their secretaries... Or, if you know/can find out her name, email her as well as phoning her "to follow up the phone call".

    3) Lastly, if you get really desperate, try to phone his registrar. This may only work if you know their name and can ask switchboard to put you through directly to Dr Y. If you do speak to a member of his team, the nicer you are the better: when I used to get calls from patients (when I didn't have a clue who they were) if they were pleasant to me down the phone instead of shouting at me (in their frustration at the system no doubt) I was always more inclined to sort it out for them...

    Most consultants I've known or worked for are happy to speak to patients who phone up - after all the buck stops with them, they're the ones responsible.

    Hope some of that helps, and sorry, Liz, I can imagine (and I know) how frustrating it is trying to get some answers and trying to make sure things happen as they should. It shouldn't have to be this way.

  8. Have just noticed how long that comment was... sorry!

  9. Wombattwo's insider knowledge would seem the way to go - you could do those calls, also maybe registered letters (which sometimes get more attention being recorded. Also a bit unusual these days). Turning up in person is another plan, if all else fails.

    It really is a full time job, isn't it? You'll need a holiday after this, you poor girl.

  10. Also, switch = switchboard in (2). Just to clarify. Though you probably worked that out, I'm sure.

  11. Oh wow, that just plain sucks. I did go through a similar thing and plain old stalking by phone for months is what got me an answer (not the one I wanted though) in the end. Though in other cases, I have given up and gone private (assume you've heard today's news headlines about people giving up on NHS waiting lists and either going private or dying). Still wombattwo seems to know her stuff - I'll be following that guidance in future too!

  12. No bits of widsom here, Liz... Just wanted to say that this is super shitty and that I'm sorry you're having to deal with this! It elevates my blood pressure just reading it!


  13. Ugh, how frusterating! You deffinetly deserve some answers asap. I know I had to switch Dr.'s a few times since both Dr. number one and two refused to return my phone calls and order the proper tests. I just got fed up and moved on. I hope you figure something out soon. Good luck!

  14. I am tearing my hair out over here. In handfuls. Good luck.

  15. Sandy in Florida31 July 2011 at 00:01

    I don't know how you've managed to do all you have to date, you must be *very* organized, I don't think I could do what you have. I wish you luck and have no doubt if there is a way to crack the system you'll get there. Good luck.

  16. What a pain in the neck! Why don't you try the old fashioned route ie: turn up in person at the various places you are calling and get an answer that way?

    I've just been catching up on your blog. It's great to hear you've had your time off approved - when you do begin it?


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