Littlehampton nurse’s frustration at treatment delays

Karen Baker has a condition which leaves her in constant pain' D15091537a
Karen Baker has a condition which leaves her in constant pain' D15091537a
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A CARE home nurse who had been waiting months for a crucial medical consultation has told how she was left ‘fuming’ after her meeting was delayed for a second time.

Karen Baker, 58, of Beaconsfield Road, Littlehampton, suffers from fibromyligia and osteoarthritis in her knees, hand and neck – a combination which has left her in constant pain for several years and is getting worse as she gets older.

“We deeply regret any upset and inconvenience caused by the late cancellation and delay of a rheumatology appointment.”

Medical director Dr George Findlay

Mrs Baker had visited the musculoskeletal (MSK) unit at St Richard’s Hospital, in Chichester, in the hope of getting an adjusted pain treatment plan and a consultation to replace her knee. Initially, the hospital agreed a consultation date, but it was postponed for seven months until Thursday.

However, on the day Mrs Baker was due to undertake the meeting, a letter came through informing her the consultation had been delayed, yet again, for another seven months, much to her dismay.

She said: “I was just fuming, I couldn’t believe it. I was actually swearing.

“I was just gutted that I couldn’t go. I have been waiting for so long to try and get something done.

“But now, by the time I do get to see a consultant, it will have taken me 14 months.”

Following Mrs Baker’s complaints, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – the organisation which runs St Richard’s – has given her a revised consultation date. She is now due to have a rheumatology meeting on March 17.

Medical director Dr George Findlay said: “We deeply regret any upset and inconvenience caused by the late cancellation and delay of a rheumatology appointment.

“Referrals to our rheumatology clinics have increased by more than ten per cent over the past year, but we are putting new measures in place to ensure all patients are given the care they need as quickly as possible.”

Fibromyalgia is a long-term illness which causes widespread pain throughout the body. Other symptoms include fatigue, muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping and concentration problems, as well as headaches and irritable bowel syndrome, a digestive condition that causes pain and bloating.

The cause of the condition remains a mystery.

However, it is thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages carried around the body.

Mrs Baker added she was happy the hospital had managed to organise the latest consultation but was still frustrated it had taken so long.