Friday, 15 April 2011

Timing is everything

Yesterday I had a call from the PET scan people - that's the scan where they inject you with a radioisotope and ask you lie still for 20 minutes while you move in and out of a tunnel. Consultant 1 wanted me to have an appointment for a scan next week. The appointments clerk was slightly puzzled why I might be given a scan while I was still on a chemo regime - and so was I. I explained that these last two cycles had been added to the plan and that the copy of the registrar's letter detailing what had happened at our meeting two weeks ago had only reached me a couple of days previously. It was possible that Consultant 1 hadn't seen it when this appointment instruction was given. The appointments clerk - from the private company that operates the PET scan - agreed with me and went away to check with Consultant 1.

Sure enough today she rang back and said they wouldn't do the scan until I'd finished the chemo. Could it be that this is just the sort of confusion that wastes NHS money? If the clerk hadn't been on the ball and raised doubt and I hadn't jumped to the right conclusion, they'd have wasted the cost of a procedure purchased from a private provider and I would have received another dose of radioactivity to no purpose whatsoever. You really have to keep your wits about you when navigating the NHS jungle.

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