Elderly man's year-long wait for hospital appointment

AN ELDERLY man faces a wait of more than a year to see a specialist doctor because his hospital appointment has been delayed twice. Stanley Hunt, aged 71, from Redbourn has been suffering from prolonged and undiagnosed respiratory problems and was due to

AN ELDERLY man faces a wait of more than a year to see a specialist doctor because his hospital appointment has been delayed twice.

Stanley Hunt, aged 71, from Redbourn has been suffering from prolonged and undiagnosed respiratory problems and was due to see a consultant in the Thoracic Medicine Clinic at St Albans City Hospital this April.

But he was sent a letter in December moving his appointment back until June when the hospital attributed the delay to "unforeseen circumstances."

Mr Hunt, of Bettespol Meadows, normally has a check-up every four to six months and so he was astonished to receive another letter last month telling him that his appointment had been moved again - this time to December.


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He has now written to West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) to lodge a complaint about the way he has been treated and has said in the letter: "No doubt that by the time you get around to honouring a fixed date I will be dead. I will do my utmost to disappoint you."

Mr Hunt has been left concerned that his health could deteriorate further while he is waiting for the appointment in December, especially since he said a recent scan revealed something which could need investigating.

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Various treatments have been tried but he continues to suffer from a constant cough and so far the condition has yet to be diagnosed.

Doctors told him they would be trying to establish the cause of his problems but Mr Hunt will be left worrying about what is wrong for at least another eight months.

He said: "It's annoying if you have got something wrong with you and they can't seem to fix it and it is worrying as well when you have it for such a long time. It's almost as if you begin to get used to it."

A spokesperson for the WHHT could not comment on individual cases but said: "The Trust aims to minimise the inconvenience caused to patients when their appointments are cancelled. However, sometimes clinics have to be cancelled for example due to unexpected staff sickness."

She added: "In the last few weeks, changes to the consultants and junior doctors' clinics have been implemented in both Hemel Hempstead Hospital and St Albans City which will improve the scheduling of patients' appointments.

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