"Human cattle market"

About: Southmead Hospital

I attended the breast care centre following a referral from gp. 10/10 for a prompt appointment. I arrived a nervous wreck to a packed reception desk. After several minutes was abruptly told to take a seat. I waited for approx 45 mins to be met by a leading consultant, with a handshake and smile. That's where the friendliness ends unfortunately. I was asked a few brief medical history questions and told to go and take my top off while he found a nurse. I was told to lie down, examined in about 10 seconds, and every time I tried to tell him where I was having a problem, I was rudely overtalked. I was not examined for change of shape of breast, or examined while sitting or standing (part of the protocol i believe). While I was getting dressed my husband tried to tell him that he was the first to notice obvious changes to my breast, and the consultant did'nt even look up from his paperwork, and muttered, and I quote " well we are giving her a mammogram arn't we, so not a problem". I was told to go back to the waiting room. After another 30 minutes I was called in for a mammogram. The lady couldn't have raised a smile if she tried. Again back to the waiting room. Another half hour and the consultant called me in again. He continued writing notes while telling me the Mammo looked ok. All he said was "these things happen sometimes, and I could always come back if the problem persists" . He handed me a form and said goodbye. I left the department in a worse state than when I arrived, I was angry at being treated like a piece of meat, my fears were not resolved and he didn't bother to ask me that either!. I got as far as the carpark and cried. My husband was just as angry, and was shocked that women are being treated this way. I am now considering going private, even though I can't afford it, as I am totally unsatisfied that my problem is resolved. I will not be going private in Bristol, as this guy seems to be at most well known private facilities, and I wouldn't give him the pleasure of my hard earned cash!

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Clare – I was very concerned to read of your experience at the Breast Centre and I am not surprised that you should feel so upset and distressed. The description of your appointment is clearly not the level of care, approach or communication we expect any patient to receive. I would be grateful if you could contact me via the following email address complaints@nbt.nhs.uk so I can obtain details of your full name, date of birth, address, etc. in order to investigate why your treatment was so poor and to identify those concerned, so appropriate action can be taken. Breast Care at North Bristol NHS Trust was one of the first centres in the country to launch one-stop clinics, and has twice been awarded the prestigious Charter Mark as a centre of excellence and received a Gold Star on the Peer Review. The Trust is opening our new Breast Care Centre later this Spring and we expect that patients should receive a first class service to reflect the purpose built facilities that will be available. The Trust are also implementing an iCARE initiative across all departments aimed at improving patients experience at every level, so to read your story was very disappointing. I hope that you will be able to contact me so that I can ensure we learn from your distressing experience and ensure no other women suffer the poor treatment and anxiety you describe. Kind Regards – Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team.

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