"Inappropriate Letters to Teenagers about Cancer!"

About: William Harvey Hospital

My daughter is 14 years old and was referred for an ultrasound for a small lump in her breast. Her GP was not concerned thinking it was a cyst but wanted to be sure. The hospital (in their wisdom) decided to "triage" it as an urgent cancer-screening appointment. They posted a letter addressed to my daughter (it should have been me, in my opinion) saying "we are pleased to offer you a breast surgery appointment"! The enclosed leaflet "Information for patients who have been referred for an urgent hospital appointment " had the words "possibility of cancer" in. Luckily, I intercepted this letter before my daughter could see it, but only by accident. I am horrified this kind of letter goes out to children, especially when the likelihood of it being cancer has not even been discussed by a GP. After seeing the breast specialist we are now waiting for a non-urgent ultrasound!! What a waste of time, money and resources. I asked the outpatients clerk, over the phone, to raise this as a complaint but I doubt they did, and I doubt anything will change. It is a badly worded letter anyway for an adult to receive but shocking that you post it to a child.

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Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback, ideally would like to follow this through with you, please do email me on julie.pearce1@nhs.net and we can find out why the letter was sent. It may have been related to the type of referral made by your GP.

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