Irritable Bastard Syndrome

Posted by @ 2:45 pm on Wednesday 2nd May, 2012.
Categories: Illness and injury

Well, I went for that follow-up consultation on Friday 2nd March. After the obligatory greasy-finger insertion I was told that must have a "flexible sigmoidoscopy" within two weeks and the consultant marked the ensuing paperwork to reflect that requirement. Needless to say, it didn't happen - after two weeks without said appointment I phoned the hospital's Endoscopy Department and they had no idea what I was on about. Eventually someone found the paperwork sitting in the in-tray, nobody had dealt with it. By then, the next available slot with my consultant was... April 23rd. There was much conflab twixt me (supported by my GP) and the hospital but they weren't prepared to bring forward the date for the sigmoidoscopy.

So on Monday April 23rd (eight weeks later, six weeks late) I went in for the procedure. The consultant couldn't see anything wrong with my innards but did note that I have skin tags... and haemorrhoids! His diagnosis was that the original haemorrhoidectomy and the difficulties encountered during the recovery period have left me with unexplainable symptoms of urgency and pain. He put me on Mebeverine/Colofac (135mg thrice daily for two months) and said that I should attend a follow-up appointment after three months. He said that Mebeverine/Colofac (a drug used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome) would be cheap to buy "over-the-counter" and so a prescription would not be necessary. Amazingly, he also declared me "fit for duty", saying that I was OK to do all sorts of stuff including fellwalking, DIY and garden groundwork.

Well, later that day we went to the pharmacy to get the Mebeverine/Colofac and were told that the bill would be huge (over £50), they couldn't understand why I'd not been given a prescription.

A day later and I was back on the phone having words with the consultant's secretary. She said that she'd contact the consultant, get things sorted and phone me back later in that week. She said that she thought that >£50 was a lot and that in her opinion a prescription would have been preferable.

As usual there was no forthcoming communication so this morning I called her again. She'd sent a letter that I was yet to receive (it was delivered a few minutes ago) which stated that "Mebeverine is an over the counter drug, which unfortunately cannot be prescribed".

Hmm... "cannot". That's not the same as "would not be necessary". Something awry there. Time for some more sabre-rattling!

Back at the pharmacy I asked the nice people there to do me a costing for my needs so that I could take it to my GP. The bill turned out to be a whopping £65.88! If my consultant really thinks that's cheap then he needs his head looking at!

Then it was back to the nice people at my GP surgery, armed with the costing, the sigmoidoscopy report and the consultant's handwritten note about what treatment I needed. About an hour ago I got an over-the-phone appointment with my GP, I explained all and after his incredulity had subsided he told me that he would write a suitable prescription for me and that I could collect it later today.



I have it in mind to visit my consultant, wave a copy of said prescription in his face and then rattle my sabre up his arse to see how he likes it!


Anyway, here are a few tips for any budding colo-rectal consultants out there:

  • Two weeks does not equal eight weeks. If you can't deliver (or can't depend on others to deliver) on your promises, don't make them;
  • Mebeverine/Colofac can be prescribed - my GP has proved this;
  • "Phoning someone back the same week" is not the same as ignoring him/her until he/she phones you the week after;
  • £65.88 is not less than £7.65, the current UK prescription charge. This is simple maths but needs a basic grasp of reality;
  • If you say that a course of drugs is required then YOU should prescribe it rather than leave the patient to acquire such a prescription from his/her GP.


Now, dear readers, it's time to place your bets... the three-month follow-up appointment should be for sometime around Monday 23rd July... how close do you think they can get? Last time they were out by a factor of 4, if they do that again then we'd be looking at April 2013!

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5 Responses to “Irritable Bastard Syndrome”

  1. alan.sloman says:

    If it wasn't so irritating it would be very funny.

    I interviewed my consultants at Addenbrookes to find one I could trust. The first was arrogant and ignorant of my particular condition (I knew more about it than she did) and the second has been an absolute joy.
    Now they want to transfer my care to a hospital nearer to where I live...

    So I'll go through the same process all over again.

  2. Robin Evans says:

    Sorry to hear of your (further) troubles. You've been badly let down by the NHS. 🙁

  3. AlanR says:

    God forbid Stef. More negativity.
    A kind of similar thing happened to me. (All my appointments have been ok). The consultant gave me a private order for some creme. I went to the hospital office and was told they didn't have it in but would get it tomorrow and it would cost me Fifty pounds. I told them not to bother i will go to another place.
    They also didn't have it and told me Fifty eight pounds. I said leave it. I tried yet another who said they had never seen an order like this and if i wanted the creme it would be fifty two pounds and fifty pence. They had it in.
    I went into my GP desk and explained the situation with the desk sergeant. She checked my records and within 30 seconds i had a new order which i took back and got the item for £7. I didn't need all that walking about at the time.
    My next appointment is mid July.

    i hope this comment makes sense. Its been sent back to me 9 times.

  4. BG! says:

    Cheers for the comments, folks.

    The annoying thing about all these fcuk-ups that we have to endure is that it's easier for the NHS to get it right than it is to fail, yet they do seem to want to go deliberately wrong at every available opportunity.

    Maybe it's an attention-seeking thing.

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