In the UK you have the freedom of choice when it comes to where and whom you are treated by in hospital. I didn’t know that when I was ill and just thought you went to the specialist nearest to where you live!
Why would you swap? There are so many reasons but the main ones may be for shorter waiting lists, PTSD, availability of top quality surgeons and specialists, location, Confidence, or lack of, in your current hospital! I never knew and so I wanted to share how, and give people the confidence to take control of your own care. It is easier than you may think.
I was originally operated on at my local hospital, which is an hour away, and suffered terrible PTSD as a result of what occurred followed my surgery. I had a severe allergic reaction after my operation, the actions the nurse took, I believe could have killed me. My anxiety and stress facing further operations and the thought of going back on that ward was petrifying. I was suffering medically though and needed further surgery asap.
It was my stoma nurses that first suggested that I get referred to another hospital to speed things along and help me get over my fears. She was amazing and did some research, she spoke to my existing surgeon, and between them they recommended I get a referral to either St Marks Hospital or The University City London Hospital. Both the hospitals have fantastic reputations and are dedicated bowel specialists.
This meant they carried out the type of surgery I needed on a daily basis, unlike my local surgeon, whilst incredibly talented and experienced, that would perform a JPouch a few times a year maybe.
I spoke to my GP but he needed a specific surgeon to refer to, so I carried out some research online and found it was easy to access who’s who and read reviews of both. I decided on St Marks in Harrow and made a call to the surgical secretary, from there I passed my details to my GP who followed up my call with a referral.
I was seen at St Marks within 6 weeks and had my first surgery within 3 months of my referral. The treatment was fantastic and the follow up care has been first class. I can not recommend highly enough, taking control of your own choices. I am now managed by a hospital solely based around bowel disease with some of the country’s top specialist and surgeons available. They had pioneering techniques and most importantly of all, are specialist in my disease!
It seems a daunting process at first, but it is worth it.
Take control and fight to beat it head on!
I hope by me sharing this it helps someone else take control and get the help they need!
Obviously I made my choice based on my personal needs and cannot recommend what is best for others, I simply hope to show it is accessible and guide how to go ahead.