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"Dermatologist was unprofessional"

About: Glasgow Royal Infirmary / Dermatology

(as a service user),

I have been suffering with a consistently declining form of dyshidrotic eczema (I don't actually know if this is really the case - no one has diagnosed my condition). I was looking forward to finally speaking to a consultant and discussing my options with them. I made a presentation of medical photos to show the patterns of deterioration that have been occurring with my condition. The consultant looked at 2 or 3 photos (I have compiled 5 months worth of changing behaviour, which would have taken 10 minutes to review and would have equipped the dermatologist with a lot more information about my condition), and then rolled their chair away. They told me that I have eczema, and that the next steps are up to me. They gave me two leaflets for two extreme treatment options, and asked if I had any questions. I said I didn't know where to begin. They then said that if I go on Methotrexate, I'd have to go on the pill, because it cause birth deformities. That was the only piece of medical information I was given. Birth deformities. 

I was in and out of there in less than 10 minutes. I received more care, interest and advice from the nurse who assisted with my biopsy (which the consultant only did at my request - didn't think it was necessary - keep in mind that I haven't been able to walk properly for several months now). I then called to request a different dermatologist to give a second opinion (and actually discuss what would be the best treatment plan), and the nurse just told me I'd have to contact my GP and start the whole excruciating process again.

Since then, I have been contacted by someone from the NHS, who called to cancel my follow-up. So, instead of replacing my appointment with this disinterested consultant with someone who could actually help me, they just cancelled my appointment, and sent me a one line letter by post with the one-word result of my biopsy. The same person asked me in an accusatory and sarcastic tone how long I had been waiting for an appointment (over 3 weeks), at which point they told me that was 'very good'. When I asked if that seemed like a good amount of waiting time for a person in agonising pain who can't walk, they said 'cancer referrals have to wait TWO weeks!'. Using cancer as some kind of "measurement" for what should be deemed a health issue worthy of fast action is a vastly inappropriate way to deal with patient health and welfare. It's totally insensitive and deeply unprofessional.

They then used the expression that as a service, they will take that forward for me. I pointed out that this sentence is meaningless, and gives me no understanding of what is to become of my health plan. This person then sarcastically replied, "I'm not in control of your health plan - I'm not a consultant." I have no idea why someone who acts this cheeky and unhelpful would be working in a patient-facing role.

Considering that my condition has prevented me from walking, sleeping, exercising and working at a rapidly worsening rate, I am astonished at the level of negligence going on. The attitude seems to be "Well, it's not life-threatening, you don't have cancer, so just be a housebound-otherwise-healthy-young-person."

I am yet to hear about getting a second opinion from a dermatologist. Exhausting, humiliating, and above all unproductive work going on at NHS Scotland.


Response from Dot Jardine, General Manager, Dermatology and Discharge Planning, Clyde Sector, NHSGGC 2 weeks ago
Dot Jardine
General Manager, Dermatology and Discharge Planning, Clyde Sector,
Submitted on 17/02/2021 at 13:49
Published on Care Opinion at 17:17

I am sorry to read that you are unhappy with your care and subsequent contact with dermatology. I note your post has predated our last contact with you, when you accepted our offer of a further appointment for a second opinion with another consultant. If we can be of further assistance please contact the service on 0141 314 4256.

Kind regards

Dot Jardine

General Manager

Dermatology NHS GG&C

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