Fibromyalgia patients face long wait times for doctors’ appointments

Lana Bandoim's picture

There is a global problem affecting fibromyalgia patients who want to receive proper care from their doctors. In many cases, patients are facing long wait times for doctors’ appointments and tests. Karen Baker recently shared her own experience with a doctor’s appointment that turned into a scheduling nightmare.

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Karen Baker used to be a nurse, but her fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis make it impossible for her to work. She has spent years in pain, but she hoped a consultation at St. Richard’s Hospital, located in Chichester, would result in a new treatment plan. The Littlehampton Gazette reports her appointment was rescheduled, and she was forced to wait seven months. However, the nightmare continued after she received a letter notifying her that the new appointment was also being rescheduled. She was being asked to wait another seven months, a total of 14 months, to see a rheumatology doctor.

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After Karen Baker complained, St. Richard’s Hospital explained the rheumatology clinics are overwhelmed with patients. It promised her an appointment with a rheumatology doctor later this month, so she will not have to wait an additional seven months. However, Baker is not the first or last patient to face long wait times. For example, patients who want an appointment at the pain clinic in St. Paul’s Hospital, located in Canada, must wait a year.

It is even harder to get an appointment with a specialist, and patients are added to a growing waiting list to see the popular Dr. Lucinda Bateman in Utah. She is the director of the Fatigue Consultation Clinic of Salt Lake City and is known for her extensive fibromyalgia knowledge. This problem is widespread, and a survey from the Massachusetts Medical Society reveals that 51 percent of family physicians are not accepting new patients. Current patients have to wait 39 to 50 days to get an appointment.

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain

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