"lack of communication"

About: Cheltenham General Hospital

I was referred by my dentist to the clinic after they found a lump on my top palate. The doctor examined it and as it was the second tome I had been referred they said that they would do a biopsy although they were sure it was benign. A month later I returned for the biopsy which was carried out by a different doctor. The doctor gave me a letter which said that as it was benign I would not need a follow up appointment. Three weeks later I had a phone call at 9am asking why I had not had a follow up appointment and saying that they anted me at the clinic urgently the next day, I said that I could not come the next day as I was going on holiday. A few moments later they rang back saying they wanted to see me at Gloucester that afternoon. I said that I could not come as I had arranged to go out with friends. They said that it was urgent and I had to attend. I became very upset imagining the worst case scenario. I attended the clinic as requested and was seen by the doctor who carried out the biopsy who asked me why I had not had an appointment for the clinic and I explained the letter I had been given which the doctor seemed to know nothing about. The doctor went on to say that I needed some treatment and I asked the doctor what sort of treatment. The doctorreluctantly said chemo or radiotherapy. I said that having brought me to the clinic so urgently I obviously had cancer and why had the doctor not said it to which they replied that they did not like using the word. The doctor said that it was a complication of Sjogren's syndrome but that it was not life threatening. When I arrived home the doctor rang me to say that I also had thrush and they would send me a prescription for it. (The doctor had obviously forgotten to give it to me in the clinic.) The doctor also asked me if I would like a copy of the letter they were going to send and I said yes. It was a week later when I got back from holiday that I received the prescription and the letter which told me that I had MALT lymphoma which I knew as a complication of Sjogrens syndrome.. But the doctor had not said this or explained it. I had to look it up on the internet to find out what it was. I found the whole experience of receiving the diagnosis very upsetting and stressful. It is obvious that they thought I was wasting their time by attending the clinic and were pro ably rather shocked and embarrassed when the biopsy gave a positive result. Also patients are knowledgeable and intelligent these days and know about cancer and I feel doctors should be honest and open about the diagnosis when telling the patient. I had already worked out my diagnosis beforehand but needed an explanation of the type of cancer I had and not have to look it up on the internet. The doctor needs ad ice on communication skills!

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Response from Cheltenham General Hospital

Hello there, Many thanks for sharing this with us. We're sorry to hear about the issues you experienced in the department and will certainly pass them on to the staff concerned. To help us make sure we reach the right people and get as much information as possible to help improve care in the future, would you be happy to speak to our patient liaison (PALS) team so they can take a few more details? You can call them on 0800 019 3282 (Free phone) or email pals.gloucestershirehospitals@glos.nhs.uk Many thanks again for getting in touch Best wishes The team at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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