A Dundee man who was told he might have to wait seven months to see a specialist, despite suffering two heart attacks, has been given an “urgent” referral.
David Brown, 68, of Kettins Terrace, had been told he may not be able to secure an appointment with a heart expert for more than half a year, despite recently suffering dizzy spells and being found unconscious twice since the attacks.
But since revealing how long it could take to be seen by a specialist, David has been back to the doctor and been upgraded from “routine” to “urgent”.
A letter has now been sent to David with an appointment scheduled for next month, but the couple aren’t convinced Ninewells Hospital will be able to fulfil it.
David’s wife Dorothy said: “This appointment will have been made on the back of my husband going to his doctor to ask if his referral could be upgraded to urgent.
“The appointment has been arranged for November, but we are expecting another letter to arrive a week before that appointment to say it has been cancelled, because we’ve had that experience before.
“That happened when my husband had the heart attacks.
“The Scottish Government has given all health boards a target, so from the day of referral we are supposed to get an appointment within that target, but Ninewells can’t cope with that so they’ll just do what they’ve done before and cancel it.
“They will start playing the numbers game.”
It comes after David and Dorothy met health secretary Shona Robison, Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick and North East MSP Jenny Marra to discuss the original issue of waiting up to seven months.
Ms Robison said she advised the couple to ask David’s doctor to upgrade his status to “urgent” to help them get an appointment sooner than seven months. She said: “I met Mr and Mrs Brown and their issues were discussed at length.
“I listened to their concerns and agreed a number of immediate actions. I am pleased Mr Brown has now secured an appointment with a cardiology consultant.”
Dorothy said the meetings were productive and felt it helped show politicians the human side of the problems faced.
She said: “They can look at the numbers and statistics but I was able to explain how my husband’s heart condition really makes our quality of life quite poor.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said it couldn’t comment on individual cases, but added: “The Scottish Government standard is that 95% of patients will wait no longer than 12 weeks from referral to a first outpatient appointment.
“It is unusual for outpatient clinics to be cancelled and this would be in exceptional circumstances, such as short-term sick leave of medical staff.”