Praise for a hospital team as the stress on the NHS continues

Part of the EFSNET NHS Trust, the Endocrine unit at Colchester and Clacton hospitals is providing a valuable and personable service to those with conditions affecting the endocrine system.

Since 2008 I have been lucky enough to have the same consultant. He has provided much consistency and support since my initial diagnosis of pituitary adenoma and apoplexy. He has guided me through tough times — excessive levels of prolactin and medication difficulties — through to pituitary insufficiency — Addison’s disease and fertility issues.

Trust has developed over time and that works both ways. He is genuinely interested in my general health and well-being. There is nothing I feel I cannot ask — whether it is endocrine-related or not he is what I term as ‘The font of all knowledge’. If he doesn’t know then he will find out and he really sees the link between my endocrine conditions and the other multiple health conditions that I also need to balance and manage.

Following a psychotic episode in 2016 he communicated very closely with my mental health team to ensure my initial recovery phase was not compromised by medication imbalances and contraindications. More recently as my mental health has declined, he has stepped in and supported me during a really difficult time whilst waiting for specialised care from the over-stretched mental health team.

Between the years of 2013 and 2020, he helped me successfully compete in high-level competitive Para-swimming. Getting very specific and supportive advice and direction to make participation safe. Always encouraging — not to let Addison’s disease stop me from doing things that I want(ed) to do. Instead to lean on him and let him help me find a way through.

Since COVID I found the phone consultations really challenging and that led to some misunderstandings. Now he is aware of this, all my appointments are now face to face and my check-ups always come at the right time.

In between I have a contact number and email address to which a quick response is always guaranteed. A forgotten question or additional thought can always be reported, and I know that I will get the answer that I need.

At a time when the NHS is under so much pressure, this really is something special — unique — compassion — knowledge and understanding all combined. I wish this was available to everyone who needed it, but this is an example of best practice by one very special consultant and supported by a great team of nurses and administrative staff.