Stratford-upon-Avon mum in despair at year-long wait for NHS treatment
MUM-of-three Dawn Truslove is in despair after waiting more than a year for essential medical care.
Dawn blames her potentially life-threatening situation on an NHS system brought to its knees by Covid-19 and a lack of funding.
For ten years the 41-year-old suffered chronic infections affecting the urinary tract system, including the bladder and kidneys. In April last year her GP referred her to a urologist. A year later, she has still not been seen.
Her condition is so bad that Dawn is a familiar face in hospital. When she has an attack she can’t hold down liquids and gets dangerously dehydrated. “At that point I get admitted for intravenous fluids and antibiotics,” she said.
“But they only ever treat the immediate symptoms. No one will help me find out why it keeps happening or what can be done to stop it happening. I’ve been told repeatedly I need to see a urologist, but that’s as far as it goes.”
Dawn, who lives in Stratford, has ended up in hospital four times in the past year, most recently last week. She said: “I had chest pains last week and without even seeing me they said it was acid reflux and would go away.”
As the pains worsened, Dawn’s husband Ian called an ambulance. At hospital she was found to have worryingly low potassium levels, which can lead to heart problems.Dawn said: “The nurses can’t do enough for you, and I only have praise for them, but I feel let down by the NHS. Covid is being used as an excuse.”
She added: “I’m miserable and have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety because of this.”
With Ian at work, Dawn’s 16-year-old son George often ends up looking after her. Her two older children – Dylan, 22, and Chloe, 19, who are both at university – worry that she could develop urosepsis, a serious complication.
Dawn added: “The NHS has failed me. I just want to be taken seriously and treated with a degree of respect and urgency.”
According to the Royal College of Surgeons, almost 4.5m people were waiting to start hospital treatment in England at the end of last year. Only 47 per cent of patients were seen by specialists within the target of 18 weeks – the worst statistics since records began in 2007.
Glen Burley, group chief executive of Warwick Hospital, warned in an interview with the Guardian: “It could be four years before waiting times get back to pre-Covid levels. We could see that.”
A spokesperson from South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are aware that there have been particular pressures on the urology team, though specialist consultations have continued as normal for inpatients, and where urgently required remote consultations have been available for outpatients.
“Thankfully we are now in a position to return many of our services to normal operation and have restarted non-urgent elective procedures.”