"An embarassing afternoon in Gynaecology and Urology"

(as the patient),

I attended a urodynamic clinic because of continence problems. It took quite a lot for me to admit that I had the problem and bring myself to go to the clinic. The letter about the investigation sounded a bit alarming, references to passing urine into a special toilet, tubes in my bladder and a balloon in my back passage sounded unpleasant but I decided I did need help. When I arrived at the main gynaecology clinic I was directed to a department (urodynamics)elsewhere in the hospital upstairs. I gave my name to a secretary who directed my to a waiting room. Some time later a woman came in. "I hope you have a full bladder." she said, without introducing herself or greeting me in any way. She them asked me to sit on a special commode in the middle of what appeared to be an office. She was in the room behind a curtain. I tried to perform but could not. My bladder was not that full & I was embarassed. She then asked me to take down my trousers and pans and scanned my abdomen. She told me that they could not go ahead with the investigation on that day and that she would make another appointment. At that point for the first time, she asked me my name. She then said that I was not on their system, she should not have seen me anyhow and I should have been at another clinic. I returned to the downstairs clinic and gave my name again. They told me that my appointment had been cancelled two weeks earlier and that they had written to me. I had not received the letter. I apologised, the receptionist did not. She told me when my new appointment would be. I felt deeply ashamed and that I had got it wrong, but on reflection I am sure that I was entitled to at least normal social levels of politeness which would have avoided embarassing the patient and wasting NHS time. I am not sure I can face going back, though I realise I ought to.

TIPS For staff Please greet patients and check what their name is before performing any procedure. Recognise that just because you seee people with a condition every day it does not mean it is mundane or routine for the patient. Be aware that gynaecological, urological and bowel problems are embarassing for most patients.

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