Three-monthly blood tests

November 19, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Posted in arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, Me, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 7 Comments
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The hospital has decreed that patients on methotrexate for RA no longer need monthly blood tests – they will now be three-monthly instead. Now I don’t have a problem with having my blood tests every three months – as yet I’ve never had a single blip in my tests and if the hospital say three-monthly is safe I suppose I have to believe them and not just assume this is purely a cynical money-saving exercise: ‘Hey, what’s the odd life lost compared to a few thousand pounds saved, eh? Let’s do it! Right lads, down the pub …’

What I do have a problem with is the fact that they can’t book tests three months in advance, and yet we’ve been told to contact the rheumy nurse to make the next appointment. There IS NO WAY to contact her except by making an appointment to see her … a bit of a circular argument! My sensible and lovely nurse realised this straight away and in fact pointed it out to me with a comment on the lines of ‘I’ve told them ALL individually in reception, so don’t take any nonsense if they tell you that you should have booked it through me!’

OK, so that’s hopefully sorted out even before it becomes a problem, but how crazy that we can’t just book the tests when we see the nurse!

The surgery have also arranged monthly ‘walk-in clinic’ tests for the months we don’t see the rheumy nurse … but that’s a whole nuther story … a post to come in a day or so.



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  1. When I was on methotrexate, the hospital I go through’s timeline was always blood tests every 3 months. That’s pretty average around here. It was fine. If more tests were needed more often, then they did that too, but otherwise the standard was every 3 months. I’m on Arava now, and that blood test schedule is also every 3 months barring any organ complications. If my liver or kidney tests start showing problems, then it goes to testing every month.

  2. So, yes, it’s safe. They aren’t just trying to save money. They actually lose money since there is no monthly labwork to bill for.

  3. Hi Emily,

    Yes, I think it is safe, but in this country (making the assumption you’re not in the UK as well) they’re not losing money – it’s a completely different system. They don’t do their own lab work – they send it off and are billed for it – so the surgery is saving money and the lab is losing money. Of course it’s all NHS, but don’t try telling anyone in either silo that – they wouldn’t agree. 🙂

  4. Sometimes the twists and turns you have to make to get things done within a large bureaucracy can make you feel like a pretzel on a taffy pull machine! I run into the same weird backwards logic getting Veteran’s Admin. health care for my uncle and myself. All you can do is laugh and keep at it.

    Glad you’re feeling well, though, Penguin. Keep us up on your continuing capers! 😉

  5. Hi Wren, what a wonderful phrase – ‘make you feel like a pretzel on a taffy pull machine’ – brilliant! I’ve often observed how similar your Vetran Care sounded to the NHS, and had chuckled to myself at the pre-‘Obama-Care’ people coming to the UK to investigate how we did it, when they could have looked a lot closer to home! Still, the grass is always greener …

  6. Polly: Do please keep us posted on your adventures in appointment-land. We’re about to enter our own adventure with ObamaCare (although since there have been so many problems just getting signed up, the White House has quit calling it that …).

  7. I will do my best to keep you posted (knowing how bad I am at getting round to posting anything) and I’m watching the US posts with interest too, to see how it goes over there! I didn’t realise ObamaCare was a Whitehouse phrase – I thought it was just journalistic.

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