Man expected to wait eight months for his vital heart appointment

JPCT 110612 Robert and Muriel Bunce. Robert is waiting for a cardiology appoimntment. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 110612 Robert and Muriel Bunce. Robert is waiting for a cardiology appoimntment. Photo by Derek Martin

A woman has spoken of her horror after NHS bosses expected her husband to wait eight months to see a heart specialist.

Muriel Bunce’s husband Robert, 65, was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, back in January, and was told he would have to wait until June to see a cardiologist.

Then a month before the appointment, the date was pushed back to September, infuriating the retired couple, who live in East Horsham’s St Leonard’s Road.

“We were absolutely incensed. We thought June was too long anyway, and when we got the letter to set it back to September 17, we could not believe it.

“It was absolutely ridiculous. We had booked a holiday thinking it would be done and dusted and the next date was October 9,” Mrs Bunce said.

“We just want to highlight it as this seems to be run of the mill unless you shriek like a banshee.”

She reasoned that if this could happen to them, there could be others encountering similar obstacles, and urged others to make their voices heard.

Mr Bunce is already on Warfarin, a powerful drug to stop blood clots, along with other regular medication and has to undergo regular blood tests.

The couple are hoping that the appointment, at Redhill’s East Surrey Hospital, could eventually lead to fibrillation, where doctors shock the heart to get it back into its normal rhythm.

After writing letters to the County Times, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Horsham MP Francis Maude, their June 26 appointment was reinstated.

“We felt that was mystifying enough and spoke to our GP and even he was horrified that we had to wait until October and he said we had to fight it.

“We could not even understand it being until June. It just seemed ludicrous.”

In his letter to the County Times Mr Bunce said: “It cannot be right that having a heart problem, I have to wait eight months to see a cardiologist, and who knows, there is no guarantee that it will not be delayed again nearer the time. Something really does need to be done.” He added: “It seems incredible to have to wait eight months to see a specialist when you have a problem with your heart, it is after all a vital organ.”

Mrs Bunce added: “It just seems insane and crazy to wait eight months.”

Eighteen weeks is usually the maximum waiting time between treatment and a GP referral.