Patient ‘turned away from Christie Hospital for not being local’

Patient ‘turned away from Christie Hospital for not being local’

by Henry James (July 2022)

A MAN from West Lancashire undergoing treatment for prostate cancer says he was turned away from The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester for not being local and was then told to book an appointment at a London hospital.

Reverend Christopher Dunbar from Upholland, told MP Rosie Cooper he was experiencing a long delay in receiving a scan which he had been told was urgently needed to track the spread of cancer in his body.

He was then referred by his GP to The Christie Hospital because they believed it could provide this scan more quickly.

Ms Cooper said that The Christie told her they had not accepted this referral, as they are unable to offer urgent appointments to patients from outside of their area.

They then suggested his healthcare team “contact St Thomas’ Hospital, London to see if they had capacity to accommodate an earlier appointment.”

The Christie said a supply issue for a radio-isotope “for the highly specialised F18 prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET CT scan” meant it was unable to offer him an urgent appointment.

The MP has raised this matter with regional NHS bosses and the Health Secretary, to ask why all NHS patients aren’t treated equally, saying there is a growing postcode lottery in health care.

Ms Cooper said: “This is just further proof that we have lost the National in National Health Service.

“Reverend Dunbar was told he needed an urgent scan to track his prostate cancer.

“After waiting weeks, he asked to be referred to the Christie because he was told they could offer him a scan sooner.

“It is unbelievable that The Christie turned him away simply because he doesn’t live in Greater Manchester.

“We should be offering appointments based on urgency and need, not geography. I find it disgraceful that the NHS has descended into protectionist kingdoms where each area looks after their own.

“The Christie also suggested he try to get a referral to a hospital in London instead!

“Surely, they realise how ridiculous that suggestion is, as London is 150 miles further for my constituent to travel.

“Thankfully, my constituent has now received his scan, but I’ll continue to raise this with the Department for Health and the NHS to ensure everyone can get the care they need, no matter where they live!”

A spokesperson for The Christie, said: “There are ongoing challenges around production and supply of the radio-isotope for the highly specialised F18 prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET CT scan resulting in delays of up to six weeks.

“The scan is not currently offered as routine standard of care. It is only available in a small number of specialist centres.

“Patients referred for this investigation by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust would normally have it in Liverpool, but that site was experiencing delays due to the same radio-isotope supply issue.

“That same supply issue meant The Christie was unable to offer an urgent appointment to this patient.

“We instead advised the clinical team at Ormskirk Hospital to contact St Thomas’ Hospital, to see if they could accommodate an earlier appointment.

“It is extremely unusual that we would advise a referral to London for patients from the North West, but is occasionally unavoidable for highly specialist tests and treatments with limited availability.

“Shortly afterwards, the patient was offered the investigation in Liverpool.

“The Christie continues to treat many patients from beyond Greater Manchester, with around 25% of patients coming from outside the area.”

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