Grandma on cancer care has ‘nine appointments cancelled’

Andrea Hartley had been suffering from bowel cancer until she had “life-saving surgery” at North Manchester Hospital, which saw her undergo a colostomy and stoma. The 72-year-old says she should have two check-ups a year on her cancer treatment plan, but claims to have not been seen by a specialist since 2019.

Treatment for the retired baker went smoothly for two years, but since 2019 her check-ups have been repeatedly postponed, reports Manchester Evening News.

Surrounded by letters from the NHS and various Greater Manchester hospitals to cancel and reschedule her appointments at her home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, Andrea says she lodged a formal complaint, which resulted in a scan taking place earlier this year.

But since the scan took place on March 7, she claims she still has not received the results amid the ongoing delays.

Andrea said: “I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2017 by one of those tests that comes through the door.

“I had the operation that saved my life that same year at North Manchester General Hospital.

“But 2019 is the last time I was seen by my consultant, and I’m supposed to be having two check-ups a year.

“I understand that the pandemic delayed things, but from then, right up until now I’ve had appointment after appointment cancelled.

“I’ve had nine cancelled appointments for various reasons – most recently because of the IT system issues at the hospitals.”

The stress of constant postponements at hospitals, including Fairfield General, have taken a toll on the mother-of-four, she says.

“I’m being pushed from pillar to post. I know I’m not on my own with it, there will be others who are dealing with this in a more serious condition. What’s happening to them?

“But I need my check-ups because I have paranoia caused by the operation. You keep hoping that you wake up the next day alive.

“No one seems to care, I could be dead for all they know. I’m not trying to cause trouble, I know there’s been a pandemic – but my children say ‘are you alright, mum?’ and I just don’t know.

“My next appointment has been rescheduled for August. Who knows if that’s actually going to happen.”

After the M.E.N. approached Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, which organises Andrea’s care, bosses said the clinical team contacted her.

Dr Vicki Howarth, Medical Director at Bury Care Organisation said: “We would like to apologise to Andrea and her family for any inconvenience caused.

“We always strive to keep our appointments and where they have to be cancelled, we aim to reschedule them as soon as possible.

“We have been in regular contact with Andrea and her care has been reviewed each year, and we can confirm that a senior member of her clinical team spoke with her yesterday, and if any tests and further appointments are required, they will be arranged without delay.”

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