Thursday, July 18, 2024

Thurrock residents reminded to attend appointments at Basildon Hospital


A patient at Basildon University Hospital has spoken out about the importance of attending health appointments.
About seven million hospital appointments are wasted each year, at a cost of over £700 million, because patients don’t attend and don’t call to cancel them. Government auditors estimate that the cost of each missed appointment, in terms of wasted staff and equipment time, is about £110.

As well as the financial loss for the NHS, missed appointments can pose a serious health risk for patients, as Fiona Murray discovered.
Fiona was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1997, and now also has Crohn’s disease. She has been under the care of the gastroenterology team for twenty years.

She has not had surgery because her condition is controlled with medication. She needs to attend hospital every three months for blood tests to check on possible side effects of the prescribed drugs she takes.

Fiona said: “I feel very lucky I have not had to have surgery and I know the regular check-ups are very important.

“But although my care at Basildon Hospital has been fantastic, I don’t like going to hospital – I get very stressed and anxious about having to go for appointments.”

“Early last year I was due to see Dr Denis Lindo, my gastroenterology consultant. The appointment was late afternoon and I was worried about dealing with the rush hour traffic, and finding a parking space at the hospital.

I was thinking ‘There’s nothing wrong with me, I’ll be in there for ten minutes, what’s the point?”

“I was on the verge of not keeping the appointment, but a voice in the back of my mind said I should do the right thing and go.”
When Fiona saw Dr Lindo and he asked how she was feeling, she mentioned that she had been eating chocolates and joked that she had had too many and felt sick.

Dr Lindo said he would like her to have a CT and MRI scan.

She was shocked to be called back to see Dr Lindo and told that he was referring her to the urologists because the scan had shown an abnormality on her left kidney.

Fiona was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour and within five weeks had part of her kidney removed via keyhole surgery at King’s College Hospital in London. She has since been told that she is cured of cancer and did not need chemotherapy.

She added: “When Dr Lindo told me about the findings of the CT scan, I rushed out of his office crying, but the next time I saw him I shook his hand and thanked him for saving my life. If the cancer had gone undetected for another two years I wouldn’t be telling this story.

“I would appeal to everyone who has a health appointment, look at what happened to me and how lucky it was that I kept the appointment. Even if you think it’s routine and there’s no point and you might have to wait around, that’s nothing compared to what might happen.

“We have a fantastic health service, and we should respect it and not waste valuable time and resources.”


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