"Awful experience - Gynaecology"

About: Royal Sussex County Hospital

I was referred in February by my GP to Gynaecology as a result of pain, painful SI, bleeding after SI and unusual periods. I work in the NHS and have a good understanding of the referral system so it came as no surprise that I would have to wait several weeks. However, I was disappointed to find that my first appointment was delayed by a further 6 weeks and no effort was made to tell me why – I had to discover that the appt had been moved of my own accord.

I was finally seen by an excellent consultant who took time to listen and explain. I was already aware that I have an ectropian cervix which could explain some bleeding and the consultant cauterised the surface of the cervix that day. I was told to keep a diary of the pain and bleeding over the next few wks. I was also referred for a trans-vaginal USS which I had some weeks later at the Hove Polyclinic where my treatment was also excellent.

Unfortunately I then had a follow up apt (which was moved again with no warning) and I was seen by a Consultant who did not explain anything. I showed them my list dates pertaining to pain and bleeding and they didn’t even look at it. I was told that the USS was normal and the next step was laparoscopy. Their words were “so, do you want surgery?” to which I responded “I don’t know, do I need it?” They were not willing to recommend the surgery and said they were guided by me and whether the pain bothers me. I wouldn’t have been referred in the first place if it didn’t bother me, and more to the point, it isn’t normal is it? I waited 8 mths to get to this stage to be spoken to like an idiot. I said I didn’t know what the consequences are of not having surgery or what they would look for. They said endometriosis – again no explanation re this condition. I said what are the consequences of not treating this and they said “ beyond menopause it isn’t really a problem. “ I’m 31 yrs old and would like to think I have not reached the menopause yet, and have high hopes of having children someday. This was a completely redundant off-the-cuff remark. The appt was less then 10mins and I ended up signing up for surgery with the view that I would at least be in the system and could try and seek advice elsewhere. I still have no idea whether this surgery is the correct route to take. They asked if I had any further questions and I said No because I felt I would either cry or become angry. The Consultant was also accompanied by a male student doctor and I feel that some patients may find it uncomfortable discussing such sensitive information with two males and no offer of a female chaperone. This wasn’t a concern for me as such but thought I would mention it. The letter I have received since this appt states that we discussed the option of leaving things alone or considering diagnostic surgery... this is absolute rubbish.

It is a shame that my otherwise excellent care has been ruined by one individual.

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Response from Royal Sussex County Hospital

Thank you for feeding back your experiences of using the gynacology service at RSCH and I am sorry that one individual had such a negative impact, on what had otherwise been good care.

I am also sorry you have had to wait for succh a long time for a response to your post, I have only recently taken on this responsibility.

I will send your feedback to the department so that they are able to learn from your distressing experience.

Please do contact me if you wish to discuss further.

Best wishes

Caroline Davies

Deputy Chief Nurse caroline.davies@bsuh.nhs.uk

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