79-year-old faces 40-week wait for crucial health checks

A GRANDAD who suffers from a string of medical conditions has been told to wait up to 40 weeks for a vital appointment.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 7:55 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:08 am
Charles Menzies has been told he will have to wait 40 weeks for his appointment. Picture: Jon Savage

Charles Menzies, 79, who suffers from atrial fibrillation and type 2 diabetes among other complications, is unable to live a normal life due to severe pain in his legs.

The pensioner, from Liberton, visited the Southern Medical Group at the end of last year, when his GP referred him to the vascular clinic at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

But Mr Menzies had no idea he would be forced to wait almost a year before he would be seen.

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He said: “When you’re my age, 40 weeks seems like an eternity, I might not be here by then.

“My feet and my legs are in so much pain, there is obviously something wrong.

“It’s as if my feet and my ankles are bound with bandages very tightly.

“The pain is starting to move up my legs now.

“I constantly feel as if I’ve climbed Arthur’s Seat when I haven’t done anything.”

Mr Menzies phoned the hospital last week following his doctor’s appointment nine weeks ago.

He said: “The doctor never said anything about waiting times, he just said he would be referring me to the vascular clinic.

“At the time I didn’t even think to ask how long it would be.

“I decided to phone last week to see what was going on and they said I’d been on the waiting list for nine weeks but it could take up to 40.

“I could be long gone by then. I feel someone like me with all these things wrong with them should be seen, it seems a bit cruel.”

It is understood the average waiting time for a patient to be seen at Edinburgh’s vascular clinic is currently 42 weeks.

Mr Menzies has been left struggling to walk and said that swimming was the only activity he could enjoy pain-free.

He added: “It’s annoying that no-one told me about the wait because if they had I would have just gone private – I’ve done it before.

“I go swimming every day and it’s the only time I get out the house. It’s great because I’m not standing on my legs and it doesn’t hurt.

“I’ve got a car and blue badge but if I didn’t have a car I couldn’t go. It’s too long a walk to get the bus.

“The only time I walk is to either go to my car or the kitchen.”

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “We are currently experiencing a high demand for our vascular services.

“I would apologise to anyone who has had to wait longer than they expect to for an appointment.

“We make every effort to treat people as soon as possible, and our dedicated teams are working hard to increase capacity and to minimise these waiting times for our patients.”