Ok, enough posts that are simply links to other websites or current news articles, this time I have a concern that i would like to discuss with you relating to my 6 monthly blood tests.
Going back to 2006 (no, i am not Dr Who !) when I was first diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Leukaemia), i was asked to attend Grantham hospital every 4 months so that i could have a blood test and then have a chat to my consultant about the results of said test.
Almost immediately I found that "my consultant" was never actually at the hospital when i had an appointment, and sadly when the lady left some 2 years later i had not had the chance to even meet her to say hello !.
The next issue is that after my tests (which i had done at Grantham hospital) were moved onto a 6 monthly footing (i was asked if i wanted to stop having them completely, but declined the offer....how i love needles !) i found that having the blood taken at a different venue (my GP's surgery or the hospital that i work at during the week) seemed to be something that caused a severe breakdown of the "system", when A) it took ages to get the results, and B) If i did not ask for the results, no one ever took the initiative and called with them. The most recent example of this was when, during a period of feeling "wiped out" just before Christmas, i visited my GP and was advised to go and get my (then due) blood test done.The surgery could not get the bloods taken there as they were busy until the 29th December, and as i was due to return to work at the hospital on the same day, i arranged to have the bloods taken at King's Mill (to save me having to miss half a day by having it done at the surgery). The sample was taken in the morning at around 9.30 am, and i remember asking if the results would be passed on to me via my GP to which the answer was in the affirmative.......yes ! :-).
This seemed like a logical answer as the surgery address was on the sample request form......but apparently this was not so !. I also asked if the surgery would contact me if there was a problem that needed to be addressed, and again the lady advised me that she would expect this to be the case, which again seemed to be the expected procedure.How wrong can you be ?
Fast forward to today, 3rd March 2009 and I am at the GP's again, this time due to a chest infection. Before leaving i enquire as to the results of the test on the 29th (i explained that i had assumed up until this point that"No news is good news", yet again...wrong!).
My GP then explains that they do not have any results on record. "Who did the tests ?" i was asked , "The hospital that i work in in Nottinghamshire" i replied. "Ah, well then we will have to request them to send us the results via fax then" she continues and promptly writes down the surgeries fax number for me to pass on to the hospital.
Quarter of an hour later i am on to phone to the hospital explaining the situation to one of the staff members of the Phlebotomy dept, but when i ask her to fax the results to my GP i am told that it is against hospital policy to fax results, and instead i will need to get the GP to phone them and speak to them in person to find out the results.
After the chat with the hospital i then call the surgery again and pass on this information to the receptionist asking if she can get the doctor to do this.
Now i work for the health service, and believe it to be an excellent service, but i can't help but feel that somewhere along the way things have got a little "over complicated", and that it appears that the process of communicating results to patients (i.e me !) seems to be lacking any sort of structure.
So, is it just me, or have other people had similar experiences in regard to finding out the results of their blood tests ?
By the way, all through my consultations with my "consultants" (about 3 different ones so far!), never have they really sat me down and explained what all of the markers that are highlighted in my test results mean....so i assume that it's going to be a case of "go away and we will see you in 6 more months" if everything is "behaving itself", or "We need to put you on medication" if its not. Having been on other leukaemia forums on the net, it strikes me that many sufferers (most notably in the US) appear to have a much greater understanding of their illness, because someone has bothered to explain it to them in great detail.......then again it appears that as is common with a lot of hospital patients in the UK...they are the one of the last people to know anything.......but good for sorting out result requests !