The latest on the blood test fiasco

January 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 8 Comments
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Here’s the thing. You may remember that I said back in November that the hospital were happy for us to have 3-monthly blood-tests for methotrexate? Well it turns out that I’d misunderstood. It appears that the hospital are happy for us to have monthly blood tests but only see the surgery rheumy nurse three-monthly. They are NOT happy to have methotrexate patients checked only three-monthly.

Well that would mean attending the walk-in blood-test appointments, and if you reading my most recent post on this you’ll know they’re a joke – or they would be a joke if they weren’t a tragedy. Today I attended my three-monthly test and had a wee chat to my lovely rheumy nurse about the monthly tests.

They seem to have put the blood tests on a Wednesday now, although my last notification was for a Thursday – perhaps it’s both now. If so, it’s not helping. The nurse freely admitted that the system was a disaster and I witnessed the rugby scrum as the board with the little numbers stuck to it was brought out by the receptionist.

Walking-sticks flying, old people beat others out of the way as they charged toward the board, knocking down the poor receptionist who was trying to attach it the wall. An ambulance had to be called to  cart off the trampled people when the scrum was over.

OK, I exaggerated just a tad there, but not as much as you’d think!

In spite of the fact that there’s a notice up saying ‘Unless you have a really important personal reason or work, please don’t come in before 9:30 for the blood test’ I don’t think one person in the scrum was under 80. Now the thing is, from experience they all know that there’s going to be a 1.5-2 hour wait, and they have lives too – why on earth should they wait 2 hours just because they don’t have work – so I don’t blame anyone, of any age for coming in at 8:15 plus rather than 9:30 – but the whole thing is just a failure … and surprise surprise, staff are going off sick with stress – so would I be, I think, under the circumstances!

The only light at the end of the tunnel maybe, maybe, maybe, the hospital will see that people are not ‘complying’ with their monthly tests and then tell the surgery they have to reinstate tests with the rheumy nurse each month – I don’t suppose that will happen though. They’ll probably just tell the patients off instead.

It’s not the lack of rheumy nurse I object to – it’s the lack of an appointment time , and a sensible one at that, that doesn’t assume each patient can be dealt with in 2.5 seconds or whatever their crazy trial showed!

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  1. I was confused the first time you wrote about this, and even more so now. Are your labs only open one or two days a week? I can just walk in whenever it is convenient. My rheumy has a phlebotomist in her office, so if I show up there, I’ll be drawn as soon as they’re able — usually within 15 minutes. If the vampire is on lunch break, then I can go downstairs to the hospital’s lab. I’ve had to wait as much as an hour there, but usually less than 30 minutes. Or I can go to the lab by my PCP’s office and there’s rarely more than a five minute wait. We don’t have to make appointments.

  2. My dear, it seems we don’t just live in different countries – we live in different worlds!

  3. Sounds horrible! In Reading there is a drop in for the blood tests at the hospital so you just show up. Have had times where you need to wait ages but if you get in early enough its usually done within 30 min to an hour. I’m actually extra lucky thou as my current job has a wellness centre where they will take my blood test and send it to the hospital for me. So convenient! And they let me go there even thou I’m not a permanent employee . Makes the monthly blood tests a bit less sucky.

  4. Hi Lina, That wellness centre sounds great – what a good idea!

    I dare say I could get seen within an hour if I was one of the people hovering around the board by 8:20 waiting to grab a ticket, but I normally start work at about 8:15 so it’s really not helpful to have to wait 1-2 hours!

  5. We do live in different worlds. Back in December, I was told by my rheumatologist that protocol for blood tests had changed from every two months to every three months. Today, I received a call from the rheumatologist’s office informing me that protocol for MTX patients had changed back to every two months. I went online to schedule an appointment for tomorrow at 9:30. Not only did I get an appointment for the following day, but I know that my wait at the clinic will be five to ten minutes max. Sorry to hear what you have to put up with!

  6. WOW!! Sounds good! :-) (Polly potters off to investigate emigration to America…)

    I have the day off today and I’m quite tempted to go and take a picture of the walking-stick fight on my iPhone … but that would probably contravene some privacy rule or other so I’d better not! :-)

  7. I don’t think it’s just the UK/US difference – I’ve never in my life come across such appalling disorganisation and inconvenience as your surgery dishes out, and I’ve lived in various parts of the UK. I’ve never had to wait longer than 20 minutes for a blood test anywhere. Utterly mystified!

  8. Hmm, interesting Mrs M – well perhaps it’s an East Anglia thing but my lovely (I mean it, lovely) surgery rheumy nurse, whom I trust, says they’re not the only surgery putting this in place. Mind you, maybe it works better in other, smaller surgeries and different patient demographics – who knows! I wish I had time for a bit of investigative journalism!


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