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Second Opinion troubles in the UK Second Opinion troubles in the UK

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Unread 02-05-2012, 09:36 AM
Second Opinion troubles in the UK

After feeling coerced into saying yes to a SAH (huge fibroids, one of which is "suspicious" looking) I went back to my GP and asked for a second opinion. I am pretty sure I will go ahead with the surgery, but need to know I'm doing the best thing I can for myself. My GP agreed that this was a good idea.

I love the NHS but sometimes its internal communication systems do NOT work - I foud out I got "lost in the system" and have no appointment at the second hospital. My SAH is scheduled for 2 weeks time and unless I go private, it doesn't look like I'll get the second opinion in time. I called the first hospital to let them know, and they threatened me with a "very long wait" if I cancel the surgery or postpone it, and won't consider being flexible to allow me a chance to get the second opinion in.

I can't cope with a very long wait, but also can't cope with being pressurised like this. I just want to go for the best surgery I can, with the confidence that I'm doing the best I can for me. I know it's a totally different health care system in the USA, but has anyone else faced this kind of problem? I feel unsupported by the system and it's all adding to my stress and anxiety (as if i needed any more!).

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Unread 02-05-2012, 10:04 AM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

Hi MissE

I am very sorry to hear about this dilemma of yours. I don't blame you one bit for feeling anxious and pressured. That's no way to go into surgery, in my opinion. Is there any way you can push for an earlier appointment for second opinion, seeing that they messed up your records?

I don't know if I could go through with it if I was not 100% confident in my decision, personally. It really depends on all of your personal circumstances, though.

I hope it works out for you. Keep us posted, okay?

Unread 02-05-2012, 10:16 AM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

Is it a viable option to go private for the 2nd opinion? Would it be worth it to you to go that route? I'm not in the UK so no idea how expensive or difficult that would be, but here sometimes going private pay is also the only option. I don't know if you have other options in the system. It seems getting another opinion can be hard in any country. I know the boxed in feeling since I couldn't get another opinion either, and opted to just trust my Dr. I found out later I might have been able to appeal that and get one. I hope someone can point you to a way to do that there, if a way exists. Are there patient advocates, or appeal processes? Ways for your GP to speed things up? A 3rd hospital available, even one further away? Good luck, you don't need more stress. Let us know what you decide.
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Unread 02-05-2012, 01:04 PM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

Thanks Greyown and Toonces,

I am certainly going to request my GP pushes for an urgent appointment, and will be calling the NHS complaints people tomorrow - sometimes they get results quickly. I could go private and pay for a consultation, but for me this is a last resort, as I pay taxes to fund the NHS (very happily) and I think some admin error shouldn't cost me £300 (or however much it is)! I'll be making calls tomorrow - and will report back.

Thanks for the support.
Unread 02-05-2012, 01:46 PM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

My post will sound negative but please know that is not my intent. You said you felt coerced into a SAH? You are 100% in charge of your surgical decisions-you will have surgery only if YOU want to have surgery. I understand that you'd like to know of other options, but you'd still have to wait for relief and it sounds as if your quality of life is being affected. Are you wishing to preserve your fertility and looking for an option to do so? I will tell you that I'm in the side of going through with the surgery. I looked at my options, all surgical, I chose the hyster. I have zero regret. I feel better than I ever have in my whole menstruating life, really. If you trust the DR's who have recommended this, I think you can feel good about the surgery. I am sorry the system is difficult to navigate right now. I wish you the best luck and peace in your decision.
Unread 02-06-2012, 07:43 AM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

Afternoon MissE_UK

I was in 100% the same situation. I am in the UK, I had been sent to the Gynae (which we know is already a long process to see one) and he had given me a diagnosis and my options.
Although I wasn't unhappy with the SAH I wasn't happy with him as a doctor (doing the cutting) but as we know on the NHS you almost just say yes because we know how long it will be before you get to see another specialist.

I also went back to my GP and asked if I was allowed to see someone else which he was happy to do but meant 9 weeks just to see next doctor, this was after the time I was meant to have the surgery through first doctor.

I then had to make same decision as you and decided to pay for a private doctor. I did a lot more research on who I wanted to see and was very happy to have had the second opinion (although did have to pay) and although he gave me same diagnosis and prognosis he spent a lot more time explaining the options.

I did miss my first surgery date to then see the second NHS guy (3 opinions in the end). It did mean that from initial date of being told I need the surgery it was 9 months till I actually had it but I do think it was 200 well spent.
But completely agree we technically already pay for free health !!

Good luck with your decision, really understand the frustration.
Unread 02-06-2012, 04:41 PM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

Hi Snow Bunny,

I have done exactly what you did and booked a private appointment with the gynae I had been referred to for my second opinion. I called today - have an appointment first thing tomorrow! Amazing what a difference paying makes... I also discovered that the reason for the admin problem was that my GP failed to put my operation date on the referrral letter and the hospital had judged my case as "routine" rather than urgent. I was offered a date in April! Not much use to me as my op is sceduled for 20th Feb. It was when I found all this out that I booked to see the gynae privately - am really pleased I did as it has taken away one of my stresses. Which at this point is worth £200!

Thanks for sharing your story - it sounds difficult and long-winded - but with surgery like this you HAVE to be sure.

I see you had your SAH in December. How is recovery going? I hope you feel you did the best thing for you and are feeling better.

I will post again after the second opinion.
Unread 02-07-2012, 08:30 AM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK


Its amazing how quickly we get to see the same person privately vs waiting for an NHS appointment At least they were able to tell you what had gone wrong, hopefully once you see them if he needs to put you on his waiting list it will go a lot faster than 18 week standard time.

I am doing well, I thankfully had a very easy recovery, by end of week 2 felt back to 99% and all the fears and worries going in turned out to be unfounded (scar and pain of movement). I do still get the swollen stomach but its hard to tell if its swelly belly or IBS, not painful just a pain to look like a ball

I was able to snowboard at 8 weeks so am very impressed with speed of recovery and really feel its down to the doctor.

I hope you get more information, the second NHS doc I eventually saw was very very keen on me going away and thinking about the surgery, the first one barely gave me an option !!

Don't think its really hit me yet that don't have to deal with anything monthly anymore.

Please let me know how you get on or any questions you might have.
Unread 02-07-2012, 04:04 PM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK


Well, the second opinion was well worth it - he had no agenda to persuade me and gave me a balanced view of my two options and the pros and cons (myomectomy/hysterectomy). The balanced approach, and thorough talking about it all has helped me accept that a hysterectomy is the best thing for me. Like in your case, the first gynae I saw would not talk through the myomectomy option, just used a variety of persuasive tactics to get me to say yes to hysterectomy. It didn't feel like my decision, and crucially, now it does.

Now I can get on with bracing myself/feeling sad knowing that I could have fought for a myomectomy had I felt more strongly about it. The main thing is I want to feel well, and reclaim the lost week of every month - mine in sight now, abw.

8 weeks and snowboarding is amazing - and has given me hope! i'm not even a snowboarder (but perhaps I'll want to be one once I have the new lease of life that I hope lies ahead...) . I hope the tummy swelling goes down...I daren't look on the post-op section of this site yet - will save that for 2 weeks today when I'm on the other side.

This site is so helpful - I recommended it to the gynae today. Thanks again.
Unread 02-08-2012, 04:29 AM
Re: Second Opinion troubles in the UK

Good Luck

Yes there is definitely a chance of too much info on what post surgery can bring so have a breather before reading up on that

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