A Patient’s Experience of Helping Doctors

By John Hayward 

My name is John Hayward and I have had Pulmonary Hypertension for about twelve years now.  Recently, I have been well enough to attend PasTest courses for qualified doctors.  I am viewed as an interesting case, so I go along to be examined by the doctors, who then present their diagnosis to a senior registrar or consultant. 

Founded in 1972, PasTest offers a study scheme that helps doctors to pass the Royal College of Physicians MRCP2 examination.  Around 8,000 doctors have used PasTest and their exam success rate is 68%. 

A typical day starts at 8.30am with tea or coffee and biscuits and by 9.00am the course starts.  Several patients are examined by doctors, who have five minutes to complete their examination.  After they have examined all the patients, the group will visit each patient with the consultant to discuss their diagnosis and highlight something that was maybe overlooked or where there might be a better approach to the examination.  Naturally, they are respectful of patient confidentiality and comply with the Data Protection Act. 

There is a mid-morning coffee break and an hour for lunch plus another break in the afternoon.  The courses finish at 4.45pm.  The patients are paid £45 per day and all travel expenses are paid.  Some patients will arrive by taxis arranged for them by the company. 

Everyone really appreciates the effort of patients to attend and you are made very welcome.  I find it enjoyable and, as Pulmonary Hypertension is a rare disease, it gives doctors the opportunity they might otherwise not have to examine a PH patient and also, of course, it helps to spread the word about Pulmonary Hypertension.

Currently, PasTest is looking for patients to attend courses in North and Central London.  Courses run in January, May and August. 

For further details regarding PasTest courses, please contact: Wendy Slinger, Operations Co-ordinator, PasTest Ltd, Egerton Court, Parkgate Industrial Estate, Knutsford.  WA16 8DX. Tel:  01565 752016