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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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Dalton cancer patient slams change to check-ups

A CANCER patient has criticised the transfer of a service at Furness General Hospital after learning he must travel out of the area for vital check-ups.

Keith Elliott is furious that the regular test he must undergo to ensure the bladder cancer he defeated once has not returned will now be carried out at Kendal.

The change means the 58-year-old Dalton man, who is also a full-time carer, must spend several extra hours away from his dependent each time he is tested.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust confirmed to the Evening Mail it has adopted a new approach to its cystoscopy and endoscopy services.

Under the changes, which came into effect on January 28, only patients presenting to FGH with symptoms will undergo the bladder and bowel procedures on the spot.

That means anyone with an existing condition that requires three-monthly or six-monthly check-ups will have to travel to Westmorland General Hospital.

“It’s alright for people that can travel and are in a position to travel, but I’m actually a full-time carer,” Mr Elliott said.

“It’s going to be at least a three-hour round trip - more if I get stuck in traffic or they’re running late at the hospital and I can’t leave (my dependent) alone for that long.”

Mr Elliott was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his bladder in November 2011 that was removed in an operation several months later.

He must undergo a cystoscopy, where a digital lens is inserted into the urethra, every three months to make sure the tumour has not returned.

Mr Elliott is also bitterly disappointed that the changes have caused a backlog that has pushed his next appointment out to the end of February - a full two months late.

UHMBT medical director George Nasmyth said national campaigns encouraging people to take precautionary measures with their health had overburdened the system.

“Due to the significant increase in demand for endoscopy services - largely to do with the national bowel cancer screening campaign - we have had to make changes in order to accommodate the increased number of referrals to endoscopy,” he said.

“From this date anyone requiring an initial cystoscopy appointment will be seen within a one-stop clinic at FGH.

“Any follow-up procedures, including regular cystoscopy checks, will be done at Westmorland General Hospital.”

Mr Nasmyth admitted the changes had the potential to disrupt longer-term patients, but said those presenting to the hospital with serious symptoms must take priority.

“Both of these will allow the endoscopy unit at FGH to have more capacity to deal with the increasing number of symptomatic bowel patients that need to be screened for potentially serious diseases,” he said.

Have your say

Isn't this a good example of what The Health Secretary referred to, in a speech last week as "stealth" transfer of services, which he was opposed to. Also heard last week that a member of staff from FGH's cystoscopy and endoscopy department had retired and was not being replaced to save money.

Posted by Keith on 11 February 2013 at 23:08

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