I have had a similar experience to Dr Wilkinson with the specialist referral system [BCMJ 2011;53:455-456]. I was referred by my cardiologist to another cardiac specialist in August, and told to phone the office to book the appointment.
The first message I left was not returned. The next time I had a brief conversation with an offhand receptionist and told I would be called back. I am still waiting 3 months later.
I discussed this with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and they do not seem to have any specific guidelines on this problem, other than that a reasonable standard of care would be to return phone calls. Perhaps the only way to deal with this situation is to make a formal complaint to the College.
I must add that since retirement 10 years ago I have had to see several specialists for various ailments and have only encountered this problem with this particular referral.
—Robert Walker, MBBS
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