"Physio Drop-in"

About: Bodmin Community Hospital

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I was told to visit the Physio drop-in by my GP following an MRI on my spine as she suggested they may be able to help with pain management. I have suffered chronic lower back and sciatic pain for over 25 years after breaking my spine. I was given a heads-up to get there early (clinic opens at 8:00am) as it fills up quickly. I arrived at 7:45am (after driving 8 miles in severe pain, exhausted from lack of sleep due to the pain) to an already full waiting room. I was told by a very abrupt, irritated and impolite receptionist that they were short staffed and the clinic was full; they were only accepting 6 patients that day and was told to go home. No apology, no alternative suggestions and no consideration to try and accommodate me. I explained I was in severe pain and was told to go there by my GP. The receptionist told me to go see my GP because they can't help with pain and they don't give out TENS machines (which was one of the things my GP said they might be able to help with). This was my first experience of the drop-in clinic and after that experience it will be my last. Why patients aren't referred by a GP, why there is no triage system, why they can't get more staff in (if it is SO popular they are fully booked well before the clinic doors are even open) and why the receptionist can't learn a few manners and social skills is beyond understanding. I left, feeling upset and helpless with no inclination to go back another day when I might be treated the same way. Poor show Bodmin Physio, very badly managed.

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Response from Bodmin Community Hospital

Firstly, we are very sorry to hear that your experience of the physiotherapy drop in service at Bodmin Hospital was not a positive one. The physiotherapy drop in service is extremely popular and is usually very well attended as patients appreciate the opportunity to self refer and access treatment quickly, which is especially helpful when an acute injury has been sustained. It is not always possible to see all patients on the day but our records show that 90% are. On the day you visited however, staff sickness significantly reduced our capacity to six patients only, which is very unusual. If all patients cannot be accommodated on the day, they are advised by the receptionist of their options which are:- 1. Complete a self referral form to book an appointment in advance. 2. return to drop in clinic on another day I am surprised to hear that you feel you were ‘told to go home’ and will of course discuss this with our receptionists to ensure that the options are clearly explained. Presenting as you did with a chronic spinal problem, you were clearly in severe pain. We do advise our referring GP colleagues that it may be more appropriate to refer patients with long-standing conditions via letter or referral form so that we can pre-book an appointment at a time convenient to the service user. I am sorry that this did not happen in your case and we will send out a reminder to our referrers as a result of your experience. Self referral forms are available from our community hospitals and can be downloaded from http://www.peninsulacommunityhealth.co.uk/our-services/physiotherapy.htm I also apologise that you were apparently misinformed about the physiotherapy service issuing TENS machines for chronic pain management; the service does not issue TENS machines. TENS machines are available to buy online and from high street chemists.

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