Useless doctors?


Registered User
Oct 4, 2006
Does anyone else feel that visits to the consultants are a complete waste of time and energy?
Yesterday was my mothers yearly check at the hospital, its always a pain as she has to have two appointments in the same day which means spendig a long period of time away from home and her surroundings. The appointments were for 9am and 3.15pm she lives a good few miles from the hospital and i was unable to go with her so my aunt volunteered to take her instead. We contacted the hospital to see if the appointments could be moved closer together to make it a little easier for them both but they said that they would be unable to change the appointments, when we explained that my aunt would be bringing my mother and that she would have to travel a long way and 9am was going to mean her having to leave her own home at 6.30 am they agrred to arrange a car to pick them up and take them to the hospital and that it would pick them up at 8am.
8am came and went and no car arrived so eventually knowing they would now be late for the first appointment my aunt decided to try and drive there with no idea where exactly the hospital was and obviously mum wasn't much help.
They finally arrived at gone 10am and mum went in to see the first doctor and do the usual round of memory tests, when she had finished it was my aunts turn to go in and explain how she had deterioated over the last year which quite franky has been DRAMATICALLY!
Anyway theythen had a 5 hour wait for the second appointment so my aunt took mum shopping and for some lunch trying keep mum occupied as these days she is very impatientand eventually they get to see the consultant who we hoped would be able to give us some advice about the best way to continue with mums condition

But to everyones surprise the doctor said "THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE IN THE LAST YEAR!" apparently her test results were no different from the year before and all the details my aunt had given about how much worse things had got was completely disgarded!

What on earth was the point of taking my mum out of her home for a whole day stressing both her and my aunt out just to be completely ignored!

Has anyone else been unfortunate enough to have the same experience?


Registered User
Mar 23, 2008
coast of texas
Yes, I've had that experience. I took it into the fact that until they really havegone way down they roll between stages. 3 months ago moms doctor had her in stage 4/5 by tests but then in reality she was in stage 6 headeds to 7. Once I had home health coming into the house to help they saw more of what I went thru and was able to let the doctor know what was actually going on.

At the same time tho' I understand that Englands system of healthcare is more institutionalized and regulated by the government whereas over here in the U.S. it is private pay or insurance and well if you don't have the means for either you fall thru the cracks. I think tho the difference in the may the medical systems are delegated is part of the problem for AD caretakers.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Unfortunately, YES.

On one of the last checkups that Lionel was able to attend, the consultant, (who we had known for a few years and who actually did the test himself,) said Lionel had scoredxxxxx and was the best he had seen him in 4 years.

Me, well I was nearly apoplectic. This man, who had deteriorated so much, being considered the best he had been.

I did say to the consultant "perhaps you would like to come and live with me for a week and then you would see for yourself".

He explained gently: There really was nothing more he could do for Lionel other than continue his prescriptions for Exelon (Rivastigmine). I had to accept this.

Other help, or not, could be sought from SS, outside agencies, and the like. Thinking long and hard about the situation I could see his point.

A hard lesson learned. I do hope you get the help you seek soon.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Weeze, I think it's disgraceful that the hospital was so inconsiderate. Presumably both appointments were with the mental health team, so there was no reason why they couldn't have been co-ordinated. Usually, either the tests are done in the home in advance by a CPN, so that the consultant has the results before you go, or it is all done in one appointment by the consultant.

Also, 9.00 is not a realistic time for an appointment for a person with dementia, particularly when there is travelling involved.

I'd be incined to write and ask for an explanation.

I'm also surprised that the consultant went on the mmse result alone. This is usually taken in conjunction with the way the patient presents, and the report by the relative.

I'm not surprised you're angry. Could you have a word with your local branch of AS? They may have a link worker who could take your points up with the consultant.


Registered User
Mar 27, 2008
Hello Weeze

Well I think your mum deserves a medal. She did amazingly well to have coped with such a long day!. You mention that it's an annual visit so hopefully either you or your aunt can arrange to have alternative arrangements next year. I would find it a strain and stressful having such a long wait and I'm not ill!!

I have always felt that the hospital appointments have been a waste of time. The only thing that we have gained is confirmation that Alan as FTD. I remember clearly saying that it was a waste of time to the lady who visits us from the Alzheimers Society and she clearly said "it's important to stay in there because many people are not in there and need to be". I didn't know what she really meant because I have no experience but I trusted that she knew and I trusted her experience. I am assuming she meant that it's only useful if you really need it!

Back to your mum, I do feel there are grounds for her not to have to endure such an ordeal of a day and you have a year to get it sorted.

Love to you


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello weeze,

I do agree the appointments were made with no consideration for your mother. I refuse to accept appointment befor 10.30 for my husband. I`m not rude about it, i just explain it takes him a long time to organize himself in the morning and if he is rushed or pressured, it makes him more confused and anxious.

But I also feel it is very important to attend these consultations.

So little is still known about dementia, and one way for medics to learn and understand is to see patients on a regular basis. So even if it seems you have gone for nothing, your appointments are not a waste of time, they might be helping the next generation of sufferers of dementia.


Registered User
Jan 10, 2008
it depends on where you are

in fairness to the NHS, I would like to point out that I have been very impressed with most of the help we have received.

It is true that the hospital where Mum used to live was not that well organised: there was one occasion when I discovered on a Monday that Mum had an appointment the following Wednesday to see the consultant. I arranged for someone else to lead the study group I lead on Wednesdays and drove 2 hours to Mum's to take her to the hospital. When we got there, the notes were nowhere to be found. The doctor had no idea why we were there (had he forgotten ...?) and I was furious.

On the other hand, Mum's GP was brilliant and gave me all the advice and support I needed, including help with sorting out the POA. When Mum moved to a home near us (in a different Health Authority area) she was registered with a local GP who sees the residents at the home, and the consultant from the hospital comes to see Mum to assess her every 6 months or so. They keep me informed of what is happening and I have no complaints at all.

I know the NHS is not perfect, and it is very frustrating when the system breaks down and people don't get the care they need and deserve. It is also very frustrating for the staff of the NHS who are doing their very best and not getting the recognition they deserve!


Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Hello Weeze,

What I don't understand is what the second appointment is for?

My husband sees the consultant every 3 or 6 months..the memory test is done in my presence, and we discuss that in front of Eric. We are never there for more than 90 minutes..
If I felt it necesary to "give warning" that things weren't right I have access to the consultant's secretary .
She is very understanding and supportive...

I agree that the hospital visits are purely to log information..from Eric's point of view he is always stressed before these I leave it until the last minute to tell him.Without these visits how is anyone going to learn about Dementia and eventually help us?

Fortunately his consultant sees patients locally in the afternoon..We (Eric and myself) are lucky
I think.

Love gigi xx

Alison K

Registered User
Mar 29, 2008
What a waste of a day

No i dont understand what 2nd appt is for. I work for NHs so I see both sides , but to put an elderly confused pt and care thro all that beggars belief. What does it achieve? I think you should write and complain to hosp admin and point out as u have to us your migivings. Next time refuse to wait around and demand they see, do test all in the same time. Dad was lucky in that he saw Dr,did memory tests and had bloods done all in same appt. I am so sorry u had all this hassle. belive me at times I feel like screaming at the system as it fails those who need it most and cater for those who abuse it. Hear I go on my soapbox:eek: Love Ali