Bladder clinic waiting list leaves patients ‘distraught’
MPs warn that Whittington Hospital ‘backlog’ could have serious consequences, as more than 240 people wait to be seen
18 May, 2018 — By Emma Rosser
Professor James Malone-Lee: ‘It has been one of the worst experiences of my career that I should see such terrible human suffering, understand the causes and know how to treat the disease, but be prohibited from providing treatment by senior colleagues’
A GROUP of MPs including Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn have warned health chiefs they are “deeply concerned” about restricted access to a bladder clinic at Whittington Hospital.
More than 240 patients – mainly women – are waiting to be seen at the Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms clinic that has had new patients limited to eight a month. The low number is so that an independent team can assess each patient’s treatment plan following an independent review.
The MPs, led by the former leader of Islington Council Catherine West, have told Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG) the “backlog” could have serious consequences for patients.
Professor James Malone-Lee, who runs the clinic, told the Tribune: “It has been one of the worst experiences of my career that I should see such terrible human suffering, understand the causes and know how to treat the disease, but be prohibited from providing treatment by senior colleagues.” He added:
“There’s a constant sense of guilt and anxiety, because I see the patients, no one else does. And they are simply distraught, they’re in a terrible state when we see them. The trouble is they are not believed, they’re not taken seriously.”
The LUTS clinic was shut down in October 2015 by Whittington chiefs over fears that treatment may have caused a patient to suffer severe organ failure. It re-opened a month later following a legal challenge by patients and Leigh Day – but new referrals were stopped pending a review.
A Whittington statement said the decision to reopen the service had been approved “following discussions with Professor Malone-Lee” and so not make new patients “wait any longer”.