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Cancer: Colon Message Board

Cancer: Colon Board Index

Hi Vickie

Yes its a UK thing

Yes it is our wonderful National Health Service (NHS). To see a consultant or one of their minions you have to get a referral from your General Practitioner (GP) and the average wait for a consult is about 13 weeks but this varies from one Local Authority area to another and also which ailment you have. It is often described as a "post code lottery" (zip code in USA?) because if you live on the wrong side of the street you might belong in a totally useless authority area. Once you get to see your consultant they can dither about what treatment to give you or what tests and waste so much time.

Here in UK we are supposed to be able to get an appointment with a GP within 48 hours. This is a government set target. My local doctor has an average waiting list of 10 days. When i had my hysterectormy earlier this year, the process I went through was to wait 3 months to see my consultant. When I finally got to see him, he wanted me to see another one who specialises in another less invasive treatment which meant I would have another 3 months wait to see him. In the end, I paid privately and saw the same guy within 2 weeks. The irony was that he told me to go back to gyno number one and have the hysterectomy. (that cost me 250). After some bargaining with his secretary I only had to wait 6 or 7 weeks for the operation.

The NHS is famous for being free which is not quite the truth as we do have to pay contributions from our wages before taxation (about 8% of salary which is a big chunk of money) and you cannot opt out. That means our employers pay the contribution on our behalf but out of our salary. Employers also make a contribution. And of course only earners pay contributions!!!!!

I have to say that my mum and husband did have great care and treatment once they got to see the right people and no expense was spared in the treatment that was offered on the NHS.

In order to get a colonoscopy you have to persuade your GP that you are a high risk candidate for cancer, or that you have a wide spectrum of symptoms like Roger.
If you just want to be screened (say because you have a close family history) then the GP should refer you to the consultant in the normal way and you would expect to wait 3 months to see them and then wait for the colonoscopy to be schedulled which is currently 3 to 6 months). Once you are a regular for screening the hospital will organise the appointments for you.

If you are presenting the variety of symptoms for cancer then your GP should refer you via the fast track system which the government put in place a couple of years ago. This means that you should see someone within 2 weeks. Unfortunately not all GPs are fully aware of how to use this system, or are not assertive enough to use it. Unfortunately there are also some who abuse the system which clogs it up for those who really need it.

The NHS is a huge rambling organsisation and having had the experience of it over the last few years, I am very canny in dealing with them. I feel v.sorry for those who have to deal with it on their own or for the first time. It is so easy to get lost in their systems.

There are many here in the UK which advocate private health insurance but having read some of the stories on the boards of people trying to get various treatments "authorised" by their ins.companys, I am not so sure.

hope that clears it up for you Vicky :jester:

regards to all

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