"I felt very uncomfortable"

About: Ipswich Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

After waiting over 30 minutes, I met with the consultant who asked me some basic questions in a very matter of fact way. There was no warmth or kindness there which started to make me feel very uncomfortable.

I was then asked to get undressed ready for a vaginal examination. I was left for 15 minutes before he came back to examine me. While I was having the examination we decided that it was a good idea to also do a smear test as I was overdue. I have had smear tests before and therefore knew what to expect.

However, not only did it take about 5 minutes, but it was so very painful that it made me cry and also made me bleed. I was consequently in pain for 24 hours after, which I feel is unacceptable. During both of the examinations no lubricant was used at all.

Once I was dressed, we discussed the operation that he was going to carry out. Without going into every little comment that was said, I felt uncomfortable and the comments that were made have had a very negative impact on my life.

I had a baby 7 months ago, have a prolapse and therefore things in that area are not as they once were, however to be told what a 'mess' I am in that area and how unsightly it is, in my opinion, is unnecessary.

I was going to the consultant because of the pain that I am in, not because of how I looked after having a baby. Comments like 'you're not going to have a virginal vagina after the operation' when said in a patronising way are very upsetting.

I left the appointment very upset and had to call a family member before I drove home as I was too distressed. I went in to the appointment feeling very upset about the problem that I had, and had little confidence. I came out in even worse pain, felt disgusting and all my confidence has gone completely.

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Response from Sarah Higson, Patient Experience Lead, The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

Good morning

I am so sorry that this has been your experience and am grateful that you have raised it. I will discuss with the relevant colleagues and come back to you as soon as possible with a more detailed response.

Kindest regards

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Response from Dominic Mundy, Patient and Carer Experience Manager, Clinical Directorate, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

Good morning,

Apologies for the delay with the follow up response, having spoken with Emma Hardwick our Head of Midwifery, Nursing and Clinical Services, Emma and her team wanted to address your concerns directly...

We really are incredibly sorry to hear that your appointment here at Ipswich Hospital has been as you describe, this is far from acceptable and has understandably been a very upsetting experience for you.

We set very high standards for all of our staff and clearly these were not met on this occasion.

We will, without fail share your story with the department to ensure that lessons are learned.

Emma is more than happy to be contacted by you directly if you would like to discuss this in person on emma.hardwick@ipswichhospital.nhs.uk.

Many thanks again for your time.

Dominic Mundy

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Response from Ipswich Hospital

I am so very sorry and saddened that you have had such a poor experience in our hospital. Would you be able to contact me in person so that I can learn more and make sure we address all of the concerns you have about your care, and very importantly give you support. Please call us on 01473 702064. Nick Hulme, Chief Executive.

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