"Experience at the prosthetics clinic"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Breast Services

(as a service user),

I attended an appointment, made at my request, for reassessment due to weight loss.  Unfortunately, a false breast does not also reduce in shape and size and it was beginning to affect confidence.

On the positive side, I am grateful that such general Service Provision is made via the NHS.  I have used this Service previously and have been attended by other staff who displayed empathy, sensitivity as well as professional skill.  I will also add that I have always found the receptionist helpful and welcoming.

I felt that these qualities were lacking in the staff member attending at this appointment. I have met this person once before and at that time also concluded that they was professionally cold.  In summary, on this occasion, I felt belittled, rushed and that I was just being an insignificant nuisance.  The appointment was for 11.30 and I had left by 11.45.  I said that I could not cope with this, got dressed and left the room without speaking another word in order to keep some dignity and control.

Perhaps I irritated the person initially by trying to politely end a phone call for approximately 30 seconds rather than immediately jumping to attention when they called me into the room in what I felt was a school teacher manner.  I really don’t understand why they said they could not give an opinion when asked and then gave one when not asked, adding that they could not see any issue with the breast size anyway.  From the questions, I was left with the impression that they did not know that areas of amputation, surgery and treatment can remain sensitive and painful long term (and even permanently).  I did not appreciate the staff member's sharp manner of questioning and assuming.  I was surprised that they did not seem to know that it is also acceptable for a person to wear a contact type breast form with the cover on as a non-contact.  Why not just ask a person nicely and helpfully "is there a reason why you are wearing the breast form in non-contact mode?” rather than making assumptions.

I feel that the staff member may benefit from some awareness and communication training.

Thankfully I can access another NHS Service or I will travel to a private facility and pay for Services when able.  It is very unfortunate that this is the only Service available locally.

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Response from Margaret Meredith, Nurse Manager, Womens Services, NHS Grampian 11 months ago
We are preparing to make a change
Margaret Meredith
Nurse Manager, Womens Services,
NHS Grampian
Submitted on 09/07/2019 at 16:19
Published on Care Opinion on 10/07/2019 at 10:30

Dear Heceptinite

I am disappointed to hear your consultation at a recent appointment at the Prosthetics Clinic was unsatisfactory and not as we would have expected you experience to be. Thank you for sharing your previous encounters with members of the team who have been helpful and welcoming, and demonstrated empathy, sensitivity and professional skill.

I am sorry to hear that you still experience sensitivity and long term pain following surgery and treatment. We aim to deliver a service where patients are fitted with a prosthesis, in consultation with the prosthesis nurse, that fulfils their individual needs. I apologise we failed to provide this for you on this occasion and that you left without a prosthesis that complimented your recent weight loss.

I will reflect on your experience with the team and explore how we can develop the essential communication skills of individual members.

Should you wish to return to be seen by another member of staff I am happy to facilitate this. You can contact me directly.

Kind regards

Margaret Meredith,

Nurse Manager

e-mail: Margaret.meredith@nhs.net

Tel 01224 559146

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by Herceptinite (a service user)

Dear Margaret Meredith,

Thank you for your helpful response. I do hope that manner of communication is explored where appropriate with staff and how their manner can impact on patients, especially regarding such a sensitive area.

I do not wish to return to use the ARI Service and will make alternative arrangements.