Long Covid Diagnosis of Suffolk Woman was Lung Cancer
Caroline Page, from Woodbridge, Suffolk, had been attending long Covid sessions run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) and says her now inoperable lung cancer might have been treated sooner if she had received a face-to-face health assessment.
The Liberal Democrat, who serves on Suffolk County Council, said her breathlessness and fatigue symptoms were eventually diagnosed as cancer by her GP.
The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) said it was "keen to listen and support" her further.
The councillor said that after she contracted Covid-19 in late 2020, she felt sick and was referred to a long Covid service; she also attended virtual sessions by early 2021.
She says she still didn't feel well and went to see her GP where she had tests carried out on her lungs at the beginning of 2022. She was in August diagnosed with lung cancer.
She said, "What's happened to me is very, very serious, but I would absolutely not put it on the shoulders of the GP, it is the fault of ESNEFT. It's because they commissioned long Covid services which did not include the GP or the hospital."
The councillor has also said she cannot praise the treatment from GPs and hospital enough. She also said that because the service was designed to be delivered virtually, it was not fit for purpose. She believes that if she had been seen by a GP, her condition might have been diagnosed earlier.
She emphasized on the importance of one to understand his or her body and encouraged anyone who has been feeling very unwell for a very long time to double check to be sure he or she hasn’t been misdiagnosed.
Dr Angela Tillett, chief medical officer at ESNEFT, said the trust was sorry to hear of Ms Page’s concerns.
She said, "We would urge her to contact our dedicated Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team so we can discuss her care at Ipswich Hospital with her directly. We are very keen to listen and to support her further."
Ms Page believed that her cancer could now be controlled.
She said, "My friends and colleagues say I'm a pretty tough old bird and I plan on carrying on."
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