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"Poor service from ARI Dermatology at Burnside House"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Dermatology (Skin Conditions)

(as the patient),

It took approximately 10 months from my GP’s referral for me to receive a letter from them stating I needed to contact them within 7 days of the date on the letter. I received the letter on a Saturday. The letter was sent on the previous Wednesday therefore already 4 days from the date had lapsed. The appointments desk is not available on weekends. The letter stated to avoid calling on a Monday and also between 9am till 11am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because they are very busy. How ridiculous is this when they state contact needs to be made within 7 days of the date of the letter.

After managing to confirm an appointment I received a confirmation letter with an almost unreadable photocopy of the hospital campus which was supposed to show location and direction to Burnside House. The appointment time was on a Saturday evening which is very inconvenient for weekend service public transport from my home since I no longer have a vehicle. The direction information was more in keeping with assuming everyone has a vehicle. Due to COVID instruction it stated not to arrive early or late so trying to synchronise public transport was extremely stressful as was finding the location of Burnside House after arriving at ARI main building. The waiting area was dark and depressing and seemed to be a converted ward.

The consultation was horrible. The Dr. Did not introduce themselves or confirm they were a dermatologist. They asked ‘what can I do for you’. I assumed that they would have my medical records available on their screen and have familiarized themselves from my GP’s referral to confirm if I have a form of Alopecia. Also it was extremely difficult to understand them due to the face masks and the voice tone. I stated I was experiencing hair loss and indicated the area.

Before they attempted to examine my scalp this doctor brought up pictures on their screen and told me I had Frontal Fybrosing Alopecia and that my hair would not grow back. I felt devastated. They then asked if they could take a look which last about 5 seconds. They did not look at the whole area affected and nor did they explain if they were using a dermoscope.

Next they said a biopsy would be necessary and would be arranged. They printed some information on Alopecia and it was passed to me by a nurse. The doctor recommended a prescription which was sent to my GP. They did not explain what these medications were and why they prescribed them for the condition nor what result these treatments would provide.

It took almost a week to locate the the prescription as my GP’s pharmacy said they had not received it. I spent 4 days making phone calls to both Burnside House and my GP to find out where the prescription was. My GP finally received it by email a week after the consultation at Burnside House.

This has been stressful and devastating for me. I do not want to go back to ARI Dermatology. There was no empathy or sympathetic manner at all. I am not surprised they don’t seem to have any positive or good reviews. It was appalling.


Response from Lisa Fowler, Deputy Service Manager, Medicine Division 4, NHS Grampian last week
Lisa Fowler
Deputy Service Manager, Medicine Division 4,
NHS Grampian
Submitted on 13/10/2021 at 13:19
Published on Care Opinion at 16:20

Good morning

Thank you for getting in touch and providing feedback. I would like to give you my sincere apologies for your recent experience with the Dermatology Department. I can understand how this would have disappointing given your long wait to be seen.

I would like to investigate this further for you and hope to rectify some of issues you have faced. Can you please send me your contact details and I will take this forward? My email address is

My apologies again, I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards


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