Wait to 2022 to see an NHS consultant, patients told

“As a patient with ongoing health issues I am now deemed sufficiently well enough (despite being decidedly unwell) to have to wait 14 months for a phone call from the consultant or junior.”

He adds: “If this is the new normal it’s disgraceful.

“This government won’t be getting my vote for causing this mess, no matter how well intentioned.”

A regular side-effect of Mr Lincoln’s steroids is to reduce his vision to a degree whereby he is unable to drive.

In a statement, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust suggested Mr Lincoln had received the “urgent” care he required.

However, John Mills, from Vasculitis UK, which represents GCA patients, said prolonged use of steroids can induce serious side-effects, such as diabetes, cataracts and brittle bone disease, as well as major weight gain, mood swings, sleeplessness and hair loss.

“The consensus opinion amongst medical professionals is that, wherever possible, prolonged use of steroids, especially in high doses,  should be avoided,” he said.

“Martyn’s case should be reviewed urgently by his consultant, to review both the progress of the treatment and any untoward consequences.

“This should be quite feasible as a telephone consultation.”

Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, warned in July that getting the NHS back to normal was “a long way off”.

Even before Covid struck, certain waiting times had reached their worse levels since modern records began.

Hospitals are hampered to a degree by the heightened needs for infection control demanded by the virus, and the requirement to keep adequate bed capacity free to cope with a resurgence of cases, which is considered more likely as winter approaches.

A spokesperson for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Our doctors, nurses and other staff have worked incredibly hard over the last few months to make sure that all patients who needed urgent care have been able to receive it, which has been the case for Mr Lincoln. 

“While there has been an inevitable impact on less urgent appointments, our teams are increasingly bringing these back, prioritising those in greatest need, and we are incredibly grateful for the support and understanding of patients during what we know is an anxious time for many.”

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