Elderly patient left frustrated

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  • Upset at long wait to see cardiac consultant
  • Woman no longer able to walk withough getting breathless
  • Trust apology as some patients wait longer

A pensioner recently diagnosed with heart failure has spoken of her frustration and fears after she was told she must wait 28 weeks before she can see a cardiologist.

The woman, who is in her 80s and does not wish to be named, said she can only walk a few yards before becoming breathless and is afraid to leave the house in case she collapses.

I feel the Southern Trust is pushing elderly people down the queue.

And she has accused the Southern Health Trust of “pushing elderly people down the queue”.

The woman was fit and active up until mid-February when she collapsed in the town centre while out shopping.

She said, “I was half-way across the road when I found I had no breath. I managed to get over to the bakery and hold on to a car.”

Her doctor diagnosed heart failure brought on by a chest or viral infection.

“I was very ill and was with the doctor about five or six times,” she said. ”She has been excellent and has done all she can do to get me an appointment with the cardiologist in Craigavon.

“But I have just got word to say it will be 28 weeks. I can only walk about 20 yards before I get breathless. Before this happened, I could have walked to the bus stop and nipped into town, and would have been out doing the weeding and the garden.

“It also affects my head and eyes and I feel I am going to collapse. I can’t keep relying on my granddaughter. She has her own life.”

Meanwhile, a Portadown man in his 50s says his personal and working life is suffering as a result of delays in treatment for his cardiac condition. He explained, “I have been told I need a procedure which has a high success rate.

“It was meant to be months ago but I am still waiting, and there are some days I feel so ill it is a struggle to do anything.”

A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said, “We regret that some patients are waiting longer for appointments.

“We continue to work hard to ensure that patients are treated as quickly as possible within available resources and the trust is exceeding targets for the volume of patients it is currently funded to treat.

“The trust is working with the Health and Social Care Board to maximise performance within the constraints of the current financial position and the increasing number of referrals.”