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Specialist appointments with SNS

Specialist appointments with SNS

Old Dec 19th 2023, 2:27 pm
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Default Specialist appointments with SNS

Any advice on what to do (other than just wait).
For the first time I need to be seen by a specialist, following on from tests done with SNS, at a private clinic, that also does work for the SNS.
On seeing the results my SNS GP referred me to a local hospital to discuss with the specialist.
That was over 2 months ago.
After a month of hearing nothing I contacted the Hospital concerned to ask firstly, do they have my GPs request (answer yes), and then can they give me any idea when I night be seen.
Their answer was, you are in a queue and you will be told when its your turn .....
I asked if they could maybe give me some idea of time......a few weeks, a few months .....................................answer, you will be told by letter.

Now I appreciate that the SNS is short staffed and has other issues, but would have expected at least to have been given an appointment date even if is 6 months away.
It makes any planning very difficult to do as I now had no idea if, when an appointment comes through it will say next week or next month.
I could go to see the same cardio privately, but not sure of the point of that, as I am sure that more tests will be required, and as I am not insured privately to have that done, would just be referred back into the SNS system (the reason I chose this route in the first place).

Is the is the normal practice when referred to a hospital, or is it more normal at least be given a date, even if the wait is long....anyone with experience??
I have spoken with the GP but to no avail.
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Old Dec 19th 2023, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

My neighbor has been through it recently, he needed surgery on his wrist.
An appointment did actually happen by letter after about 4 or 5 months, and for a later one that was at short notice (there was an opening) they called him.

Sometimes the post here is so slow, people miss their appointments.
Post guy told me that.
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Old Dec 19th 2023, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

It took a couple of months for SWMBO to get her first consultant's appointment. The call-back for surgery was quicker - and a date was provided after a few weeks. Then an earlier date was offered by telephone, due to a cancellation. Her follow-up consulation was arranged on the day - and further surgery took place within a couple of months - again with a telephone confirmation.

The process isn't wonderful, but it actually worked better than the UK - and the treatment was first class. This was at Beja..... as in the UK, different hospital, different experience.
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Old Dec 20th 2023, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Thnks for replies. I appreciate that it is all about the numbers in the queue just would be nice to have some idea of a date at sometime in the future. Dunno how it can work in anprderly fashion, if they dont have everyone in that queue booked in, in the order the prescriptions were presented, In which case it would be simple to give a date. Suggests that maybe they have no advance idea of the Specialists that will be available on any date. I did contact one Private hospital to be given a date of 22nd Feb. I guess I could book that and cancel if an SNS comes up in the meantime
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Old Dec 20th 2023, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Originally Posted by wellinever
Thnks for replies. I appreciate that it is all about the numbers in the queue just would be nice to have some idea of a date at sometime in the future. Dunno how it can work in anprderly fashion, if they dont have everyone in that queue booked in, in the order the prescriptions were presented, In which case it would be simple to give a date. Suggests that maybe they have no advance idea of the Specialists that will be available on any date. I did contact one Private hospital to be given a date of 22nd Feb. I guess I could book that and cancel if an SNS comes up in the meantime
In a national system you are always going to be impacted by emergency treatment requirements - and (so far) I have heard less about last-minute cancellations, which are a blight in the UK. So, I think you get given a date when it looks likely you will actually be seen, rather than given a date that later gets cancelled. Since private hospitals don't deal with emergencies, they should be able to plan easier...... si it's your choice.

Equally, as I said before, it will be impacted by the hospital chosen. Maybe the Algarve is more "volatile" or just less efficient...... I believe you can ask to be treated elsewhre - I've heard of patients transferred from Beja to Lisbon.
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Old Dec 20th 2023, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Good point about seeing someone out of the area, had thought of that, but of course that would mean another appointment with GP to get prescription changed, even if its possible.
I have heard and read of very good cardiology dept in Evora
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Old Dec 20th 2023, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Originally Posted by wellinever
Good point about seeing someone out of the area, had thought of that, but of course that would mean another appointment with GP to get prescription changed, even if its possible.
I have heard and read of very good cardiology dept in Evora
Travel and a stay there has to be cheaper than going private.........

Worth a try anyway.
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Old Jan 14th 2024, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

My advice would be different .. since good health is (to me anyway) about the most important issue there is, cough up a few euro, go private, get the info and advice you need, so you can act on it as early as possible.
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Old Jan 14th 2024, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Originally Posted by MrBife
My advice would be different .. since good health is (to me anyway) about the most important issue there is, cough up a few euro, go private, get the info and advice you need, so you can act on it as early as possible.
SWMBO had an issue her GP booked a clinic at Beja hospital. After hearing nothing for several weeks, she decided to go to a private consultant in Lisbon. After a single consultation, he advised some fairly extensive surgery, at a cost of some €4.5k..... and was quite pushy about setting up the appointment.

SWMBO is not the type to be steamrollered, so went back to her GP, who told her that whilst they did not have the expertise to make a definitive diagnosis, they strongly advised a second opinion. Then, whether by coincidence, or as a result of this conversation, a few days later she got her appointment for the Beja clinic confirmed. This has resulted in several follow-up appointments with the gynae team and a couple of biopies..... but eventually a clean bill of health, with the bonus of ongoing monitoring- and no unnecesary surgery. The SNS team were excellent and SWMBO has every confidence in them

"Private" does not always mean best.......
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Old Jan 15th 2024, 8:42 am
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Originally Posted by MrBife
My advice would be different .. since good health is (to me anyway) about the most important issue there is, cough up a few euro, go private, get the info and advice you need, so you can act on it as early as possible.
You make a good point. However one should be aware that there is excellent private treatment and rip-off private treatment, and I'm sure this applies whatever country you are in.
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Old Jan 15th 2024, 9:03 am
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Before I wrote the post, I had in fact asked about an appointment with a cardiologist working in a Private hospital. I had known him 20 years ago when the problem was first diagnosed.
He is still at same hospital but the earliest I could be seen was end of February 2024. which seemed a long way off at the time.
At that time the prescription had been sent to Faro
Over the years I have seen various other private Cardios for checks etc.....but to be honest I had seen so many differing reports that I have little faith, other than the original one I saw so many years ago.
That particular consultation ended up with my needing stenting.....but despite being covered by Allianz full health insurance I decided to return to the UK for the procedure.
I now think that the same problem is arising again, following the initial tests done in October.
I was always aware that this could happen again so have some considerable experience in possible outcomes.
But my guess is that I need an angiogram to confirm what is wrong.
Now I am aware that Faro Hospital has a new Scanner that can do a CT Angiogram, rather than the artery puncture of a normal angiogram, with same results.(standard artery puncture route is, a) Pretty uncomfortable, having had 4 of them, and b) So much care is needed afterwards (for example you should not drive for at least a week after the procedure)
Hence my reasoning for trying to be seen in Faro, as at least I would be in the right place for what might be needed, rather than have a consultation, even privately, but then have to get back into the SNS system as I am not insured, to get it fixed.
Thats the position, my GP appears not to be able to do anything, hence the dilema.
(must admit to finding it odd, that you have a test done on the SNS for free. The report from that test is written, signed off by a Cardiologist, who then tells you to see a Cardiologist, but their Cardiologists do not do consultations under the SNS)

Last edited by wellinever; Jan 15th 2024 at 9:09 am.
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Old Jan 15th 2024, 5:59 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Having been some of the way down the 'stent' path I can only thank my GP for suggesting that I check out the videos from Dr Eric Berg on YouTube ('stents may be the patch, but whats the fix' being a good example). My GP is private (Loule Hospital) the change of lifestyle and diet needed was certainly not easy but the support and encouragement have been awesome, as have the results. Cost €35 per visit and I repeat that every year now to update blood work and re-evaluate - tests are an extra cost of course.

Very sadly, I don't think SNS (or UK NHS for that matter) have the time to consider how best to keep anyone from getting unwell or to provide wellness guidance, it's something you have to research for yourself, study yourself or pay for.
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Old Jan 16th 2024, 9:38 am
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

I still haven't taken out private health insurance, the trouble is, the only doctor I can see is a 30 minute drive away, then I have to take a ticket and wait for a few hours, that's if I'm lucky enough to get a ticket before they all go.
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Old Jan 16th 2024, 5:18 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Originally Posted by bons
I still haven't taken out private health insurance.
Neither have I, I just pay privately 'as I go' and reckon if I total up the premiums I would have paid to the insurance company I have saved €50k+ over the years! Enough for a stent or two if it ever becomes necessary.
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Old Jan 16th 2024, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Specialist appointments with SNS

Originally Posted by MrBife
Neither have I, I just pay privately 'as I go' and reckon if I total up the premiums I would have paid to the insurance company I have saved €50k+ over the years! Enough for a stent or two if it ever becomes necessary.
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