Primary and urgent care survey - delays in accessing secondary services

Over 500 comments were about delays in getting appointments for other services other than with the GP. This included both the delay in getting an appointment once they are referred, and actual waiting time at the clinic/ appointment.

Included in this were seeing a hospital consultants or specialist, operations and access to  community services such as physiotherapy. Sixteen comments were about access and waiting for the eye clinics.

There were also comments about cancelling appointments. Some patients gave examples of the impact of delays including the emotional impact, and where conditions worsened while waiting for treatment.

Stop cancelling appointments. If an appointment has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, please give another date A.S.A.P, so that human being do not feel alone, and isolated and worthless

Shorten the initial wait time drastically for specialist or physio appointments so that treatment commences before the situation worsens - as in cancer becoming untreatable or muscle and ligament needing a greater number of treatment appointments and preventing further harm.

improve very long waiting. I am 88 years old living my own and I have a non-urgent but my GP sent a referral for an appointment in July has since sent a reminder I am still waiting  (November). I think this is beyond reason

Speeding up response times in treatment provided to save on numbers of appointments. From a May injury I am finally getting a scan directed steroid injections  in mid  November. Early treatment would have saved 7-8 visits for consultation presumably at £100-£200 a time, and release more time for others. Early x-ray  or scan could have saved hours of time.

Its all right except for the waiting times for operations and tests and all those things. It's an anxious time and you feel like you're waiting forever    

Shorten considerably referral times.  When my GP refers me to a specialist it can take up to 18 weeks to get an appointment.  If the specialist requests investigations it takes several more weeks before these are done, then it is more weeks for the follow up appointment.  If this long process has failed to diagnose the problem and another specialist needs to be seen, the process seems to start again at the beginning. This must be inefficient for both the patient and the NHS as the condition may worsen over such a long period.

Recently I had to wait 2 weeks for biopsy results only to have appointment cancelled the day before resulting in a 3 week wait which I found very stressful and unacceptable.

Comments were made about the way appointments were made for outpatients and treatment in hospitals.

When you attend an appointment at the hospital, you are told you will be seen again at a certain interval.  However, the staff there cannot make an appointment for you.  It is done centrally and automatically, so may occur on a day which is impossible or inconvenient.  If appointments could be made on leaving the clinic, a date and time convenient to hospital and patient could be negotiated and written on a card.  This would avoid expensive letters by post, appointments having to be re-arranged when sometimes the right department cannot be contacted, and appointments not being kept.   Alternatively appointments could be made by the patient on-line.

Acknowledgements that referrals have actually been received. Can be left for long periods without knowing then have to chase up with the surgery/hospital.

be able to be kept informed of the progress of referrals rather than wait for months only to find they've mislaid your referral.

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