A person who had already been through cancer would do anything to prevent the disease from coming back. The most effective way for this is to attend at least one examination a year. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. If your case is not urgent, you may have to wait months in line before your appointment for control checking.
In a report by HVG.hu, the story of an unnamed patient is told, who has been visiting Semmelweis University’s Radiology Clinics for 17 years. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which was successfully removed. She arranged an appointment at the Oncology Center two months in advance. This way she could get an appointment by the end of the summer. This has been her routine for quite a long time. This year, she could not get an appointment for about two months, despite her calling the clinics weekly.
Once she was advised to visit a private clinic. This would mean that she had to pay 35-80 euros for the examinations.
Another time she was told that they do not mess with her, but they cannot give appointments to anyone. The last time she called them, she was warned that she probably will not have an appointment not even in October.
She did not really worry about the fact that she might get an appointment only in autumn. The really outrageous thing was that she was not informed properly about the expectations.
They told her that it is not their fault, but that the clinics got some new devices and they cannot use them. No further explanation was given. At another occasion, they told her that the doctors and the medical experts are on vacation.
There is a critical lack of radiologists even in the greater cities, and the problem of summer vacations is always difficult to solve. Still, there is no trace on the clinics’ website that any service is on hold. However, the patients are warned that they need to arrange an appointment in advance.
HVG also asked Semmelweis University about the issue. The clinics was asked why did the ominous patient not get her appointment for two months. HVG also questioned them about the lack of doctors and the ranking of patients.
The university responded that there is no lack of experts, they always have enough doctors in the clinics despite the summer vacations. The acute examinations are done within a week, while the waiting time in not urgent cases is about 2-3 weeks. It is below the Hungarian average, just as in the case of mammography, MR and CT. “In the case of cured patients, it is not a regulation to do the control examination of the breast at the same time of the year annually. Several months of difference is accepted”, the institution added.
A radiologist was also asked about this. He stated that it is ordinary that a symptomless patient has to wait 2-3 months for the control examination. He claimed that the British and German queues are similarly “long”, however, he emphasized that proper information is still quite important.
Semmelweis University admitted that their Radiology Clinics has received a new digital mammogram recently. They also state that the operation of this device has not caused any difficulties or disruptions so far.
It seems that the reason why our anonymous patient did not get her usual appointment remains a mystery.