Parkinson’s sufferer faces five-month wait for a hospital appointment

The entrance to Stoke Mandeville Hospital
The entrance to Stoke Mandeville Hospital

An elderly woman who suffers from an illness similar to Parkinson’s disease has been told she will have to wait until November for a hospital appointment.

Pamela Snow, 73, of Lower Kings Road, Berkhamsted, was first diagnosed with the condition about six weeks ago.

Just a short walk down Berkhamsted High Street will send her to sleep when she returns to her nearby home in Lower Kings Road. She also gets the shakes in her hands.

But when husband Malcolm, 83, tried to book her an appointment with a consultant at Aylesbury’s Stoke Mandeville Hospital, he was told they would have to wait.

Mr Snow said: “You tell me why it should take so long. They just say they are so busy. What a load of rubbish we get.

“It is a disgusting amount of time to have to wait. Hundreds of people could die between now and November.”

Although Parkinson’s is treatable via drugs, Mr Snow said his wife was diagnosed with ‘a cousin of the disease’ – so doctors don’t know if the drugs will work.

He said: “I want to highlight national health delays in getting an appointment.”

In line with national standards, patients are supposed to be allowed to have an appointment with a consultant within 18 weeks of a GP referral.

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust – which is responsible for Stoke Mandeville – was unable to explain why Mrs Snow could not be seen in that time.

Spokesman Debs Field said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Snow is unhappy with her waiting time to see a consultant at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. We would encourage her to get in touch with our patient advice and liaison service team on 01296 316042 as then we would be best suited to investigate further and assist her.”

She said the Trust had no record of complaints by Mrs Snow and – despite being contacted by the Gazette on Thursday – had not had time to look up her appointment details.

She later said even if the Trust’s staff had found Mrs Snow’s details, they would not have relayed any information about the reason for the appointment delay ‘for protection purposes’.