Does the NHS serve us well?  Who attends Croydon Hospital?

The Guardian of 22nd July had an interesting article, authored by Polly Toynbee, on the state of our NHS. She provides a specific example, based on cataract surgery in Suffolk, of how criteria for treatment are tightening, and delays are being built into the system.  The concern is that this way of ‘rationing’ healthcare is by no means confined to Suffolk.

Some worrying quotes from the article:

“To qualify for an operation patients need to be so poor-sighted that they can only see at six meters what ordinary people can see at 18 meters: previously people qualified if they could see at six meters what others see at 10. This is such a big difference that the optometrist revealing the new order says it would have excluded 90% of those he had sent for cataract removal over recent months.”

“Growing use of referral management centres means GPs’ letters to consultants are sent via a third outfit where they are scrutinised, often not by doctors but by nurses, physiotherapists or administrators, and returned if they don’t meet ever tougher criteria. That keeps patients off published waiting lists.     The King’s Fund has done research that shows no evidence that  this expensive extra tier of bureaucracy saves any money.”

This really is a sorry state of affairs, particularly for people like us who have rare and fluctuating conditions, and need expert help to retain our visual acuity. For the whole article follow the link below.

But, what about the NHS services we with Birdshot use?  Have we noticed a deterioration?

We at BUS are interested in receiving feed back from anyone who is experiencing problems in getting NHS services, or getting appointments, or getting appropriate medication, or getting appropriate monitoring and testing.  Please email us with your experiences.

We have a particular interest in people attending the Croydon University Hospital Eye clinic (it used to be called Mayday).  Over the last year or so we (Annie and Rea) have noticed a worrying deterioration in services from the eye clinic there.  It is particularly pertinent to us, as one of the world experts on Birdshot practices from Croydon.  We really don’t want say too much about our own experiences at this stage, as we are looking for feed-back from any of you who attend Croydon.

The reason for needing your feed-back is that we have already been to see the senior management at Croydon, to explain our concerns about the services.  This has led to an agreement that we will provide on-going feed-back from any of our members who attend Croydon and we will keep a check on whether things are improving or not.   If they are not, we plan to take further action, so your help is really, really needed.

We are very happy to do the same for any other hospital where there are real concerns (we need evidence to do this – your experiences are very powerful evidence) so get those emails in to us – we need to make sure that EVERYONE with Birdshot gets a proper NHS service!!!


3 thoughts on “Does the NHS serve us well?  Who attends Croydon Hospital?

  1. i have had a few problems over the years trying to see my opthalmolagist on an emergency basis. I know the clinic gets really busy and have had to wait hours for a 10 min consultation. Had a bad experience at the beginning of my treatment when i phoned to see him and was told to go to eye A and E, I was seen by a junior who then called another consultant who made me feel like a drug addict and that i didnt know of all the risks involved in my treatment, even now its nearly imposssible to get emergency appoint.

  2. I have attended Croydon University Hospital for the last two and a half years since my diagnosis, under the care of Prof. Ayliffe. In that time the number of clinics has been significantly cut, which has led to much longer gaps between appointments – pretty disheartening when your consultant tells you to come back and see them in 6 weeks and your appointment date comes back as 6 MONTHS. You also don’t get to see the same consultant each time – OK I know they delegate to several people in a team, but as they’re so pressed for time you feel you’re being processed as quickly as possible – they also seem to have varying levels of expertise in Birdshot, and you have to ask the “right” questions to find out where your disease currently is. For example, in June I had a Fluorescein test, and I had to struggle to get an answer from the doctors as to what the results showed – finally, after much deliberation, they decided I was in remission. Great, I thought. However, when I asked when I could start weaning off the steroids and/or immunosuppressants, they drew a blank, said they would consult with Prof. Ayliffe, and suggested I make an appointment to see him in about 6 weeks to get a final decision on this. I duly went to the appointments desk, and was pretty much laughed at when I requested this, especially as I wanted to see Prof. Ayliffe. I already had a follow up appointment scheduled for late November (not necessarily getting to see him specifically), but to date have not had a reply about the earlier appointment. So I guess it’s going to be another 6 months of horrible drugs, and then do I get an answer ??

  3. Hi Jon and Helen

    We will be in touch with Croydon to let them know about your experiences along with others that we have heard about. (Please keep them coming in.) If we manage to get a better system for appointments, we will be in touch with you with info.

    Jon – we will be in touch with you by email concerning your follow-up appointment.

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