I have been with the practice for a little under a year - the two times I have had to deal with them previously I have been impressed by how friendly they were. However, then I had to call about emergency contraception. The instant those two words came out of my mouth the receptionist's tone of voice changed: I could feel the judement through the phone as a tangible thing. It made me feel utterly terrible: belittled, scorned. It was clear she felt I was wasting her time. A condom broke, it happens. What did she want to do? Wait a month to see what happened?
The doctor was a bit better, but she gave me hassle for not being on the pill - although, as would be in my medical file, every contraceptive pill I have tried gave me horrendous side effects. We confirmed three times the prescription would be sent to the pharmacy next door. I walked 35mins from home: it was not there. I walked 45 mins in the oposite direction to the pharmacy where it had actually been sent: they had no stock. This should have been checked: a punishment for the harlot wasting their time? All this time I was getting hassled by the man I had started seeing, who was now showing his true colours. I burst into tears in the middle of the pharmacy. I had to go to two further pharmacies before filling my prescription. The counter staff were lovely, but I was told off by the pharmacist (the first man in this story) for not coming in and purchasing the pill privately. Since when can you not go to your doctor with a medical issue?
It was an utterly traumatising morning. It meant that instead of the 11 hours post sex I would have had the pill, it was about 12 and three quarter hours. This after the doctor had repeated at length about how important it was to take it within 12 hours. I spent the next several hours on my bed crying. As an adult woman taking responsability for my own body and preventing an unwanted pregancy, I was made to feel like I was not worth the services offered by the NHS; like I shouldn't be darkening the doors of a respectable surgery. I'd had to have emergency contraception about 12 years ago, after another condom break. My doctors' surgery then - in Edinburgh, unfortunately - were fantastic: supportive, friendly, providing a seemless service to ensure everything was handled with speed, support, and care. And 12 years ago it was a male GP, too.
I do not feel at all comfortable going back to Barlow Medical again at the moment, I feel I will have to look into alternatives. I seriously dread to think how they treat women further along in an unplanned pregnancy, or patients who are sex workers. It is 2021: that was not clear from the reception I got. I am a confident woman in my 30s, so at least my tears turned to anger: a frighted 16 year old on their own would have been destroyed by that treatment.
"Not for single women"
About: Barlow Medical Centre Barlow Medical Centre Manchester M20 2RN
Posted via nhs.uk