"Family planning"

About: Lanarkshire Community Services / Family Planning Service

(as the patient),

I went for my usual family planning appointment to get more supplies of the oral contraceptive pill.

During the consultation, the nurse asked me to step on the scale to be weighed. I have had a difficult 2 years due to a marriage break-up and cancer scare. She advised me that I had gained 4 kilograms since 5 months ago. When I said "I know", she then said "and 2 kilograms, the time before, and 2 kilograms the time before. You've gained 10 kilograms in 2 years. You should do something about that".

Although I have gained this weight, my BMI is 26 and I am a dress size 12-14. I feel bad enough about myself without it being pointed out to me. I will do something about it when I feel ready as I m a fit person and run 1/2 and full marathons (I am also an NHS employee in this health board and a specialist clinician, so I am aware of the health risks of being overweight and I advised the nurse of this).

I felt belittled and awful about myself when I left. I do agree that obesity is a growing health risk, but I feel it could be addressed in a more compassionate and sensitive manner.

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Response from Laura Jack, Patient Affairs Manager, Primary Care Division, NHS Lanarkshire

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Dear Kitty321,

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Whilst health and lifestyle factors are important considerations when prescribing the oral contraceptive pill, the advice that we provide should be clear, sensitive and supportive. I’m sorry this was not the case at your last appointment and I apologise for the upset this has caused you. I will share your experience with the General Manager for Sexual Health Services and will let you know what they say.

I’d be happy to discuss your appointment in more detail f you want to give me a call on 01698 858 292.

Many thanks


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Response from Owen Watters, General Manager, North West Unit, NHS Lanarkshire

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Dear Kitty321

I am sorry you felt that you were treated in an uncompassionate and insensitive manner when you attended our sexual health clinic.

A BMI of 26 is well within acceptable margins for good health and for the supply of the combined oral contraceptive pill.

It is important that we give a positive health message in relation to lifestyle issues to all our patients but staff should discuss these issues in a sensitive and supportive manner. We will use your feedback with staff at our next professional development event to highlight the importance of sensitive and supportive communication.

Again thank you for your comments.

Kind Regards


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