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"Why I left the practice after over 20 years"

About: Harvey Group Practice

(as a service user),

I had been with Harvey Group Practice for my whole life up until I moved practices last year. I won't complain about the waiting times for the phones in the morning, as this is commonplace amongst all GP surgeries currently.

In 2020, I had an issue where I had a very bad infection around all of my fingernails. It was very clearly infected, very inflamed, bleeding, and had pus. It made every day painful, especially as I worked in retail and had to use my hands constantly. I had to wear cotton gloves 24/7 to try and reduce the pain. I called up the surgery and, as it was a new issue, was told I would get a call back that afternoon from the doctor.

When the doctor called, I did not feel listened to and felt patronised. I tried to explain how severe my issue was - any time my fingers touched anything there was a lot of pain. However, at one point the doctor asked me if I ever bit my nails. I said sometimes. After that it seemed that was all they could focus on. I was simply told me not to bite my nails anymore (I said I had not bitten them at all since the issue started, which at that point had been weeks).

I was not given any further advice or prescriptions. I was asked to send some images of my fingers which I did (making sure to include images where pus and blood are visible), but this made no difference. When I tried to explain how serious the issue was, I was interrupted.

I was left feeling embarrassed and frustrated.

I then spent several weeks, if not months, with this issue. I didn't want to go back to the GP out of fear I would be dismissed again and made to feel like an inconvenience. I had breakdowns multiple times a week over the constant pain. It was only after having to wear these cotton gloves at my sister's wedding and having people ask me about them, and breaking down in front of my family that they told me to call the doctors again. I did so, and made sure to check the name of the doctor who would ring me to make sure it wasn't the same one. When I did speak to this new doctor, they listened to me and expressed their shock at how infected my fingers were. I was put on a course of antibiotics and given a prescription of a steroid cream. These both worked wonders and my hands are now completely clear again.

I can't help but think about all the time I spent in pain because this original doctor didn't take me seriously. My sister's wedding and my family holiday were both events that happened weeks, if not months, after my original contact with a doctor, and should be times I remember fondly, but only can remember the pain and embarrassment I felt about the state of my fingers. Knowing that it could've been fixed so easily with just 2 prescriptions makes me feel very frustrated. This put a bad taste in my mouth regarding the practice,  but I stayed and put it down to 1 doctor.

In 2020-2021, I had another serious health issue. Part of this involved being prescribed a new cream. I was told I could email the practice to request a prescription if I ran out, which I did 2 times with no issues. I had been previously told by a doctor that I could use the cream with no reservations.

The 3rd time I requested a prescription, I had no reply from the surgery after several weeks, so called to get an appointment to gain it. During this appointment, this new doctor told me that I, in fact, should not be using the cream at all (the cream was actively helping me, and in fact was the only thing that managed to do so), and did not prescribe it to me. I found this confusing as I had one doctor who told me to use it without reservation, and another refusing to prescribe it. I was not provided with any alternatives or suggestions on how to handle my issue without the cream.

A few weeks later, I went to my pharmacy to collect an unrelated medication for myself, and collect a prescription for my sister at the same time. When I arrived there, I was told there was also a prescription for the cream that had been waiting. I was confused as I was told I would not be prescribed it, but I assumed that the surgery sent it through after my email but just didn't inform me (I'm unsure how I was supposed to know!).

When I got home, I realised that the cream was prescribed to my sister instead of myself. There was no reason this would be prescribed to my sister. She has never had an issue that would need it, nor had she even had a doctors appointment for almost a year; the prescription was wrongly sent to her. This really disturbed me and seemed like a big mistake. What if this happened with a medication I wanted to keep private?

Whilst I had had positive experiences (mainly with a lovely doctor who unfortunately left the surgery) this is the event that made me decide to move practices. I had had too many issues with Harvey Group Practice and had no trust in it anymore.

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Response from Harvey Group Practice 3 months ago
Submitted on 10/05/2022 at 11:34
Published on Care Opinion at 11:52

Dear Patient

I am sorry to hear the unsatisfactory experience you have experienced when dealing with the Practice. If you can email the surgery with your details I will certainly look into this matter in more detail. Please send to and mark it for my attention: Nicky Harmes, Practice Manager, and I will investigate further and contact you directly.

Kind regards

Nicky Harmes

Practice Manager

Harvey Group pracitce

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