"please treat people holistically and with empathy"

About: Royal Hampshire County Hospital

I am at RHCH often it and it's usually a good experience with friendly and empathetic staff.

However, I'm sorry to say it's the bad experience that will now come to mind and has lead me to writing this.

I have a long term condition which I have learned to manage, most staff I have met at RHCH have been understanding in helping with that. However, a recent visit to cardiology after a year of cardiac symptoms and being told I have either normal results or need to be checked out urgently - which that alone has been very frustrating.

When I finally got to see a consultant it felt like they had already dismissed me before I was in the room. I have had a number of abnormal results from tests and these were quickly dismissed as being 'nothing'. This might have been reassuring if my symptoms didn't have such a substantial impact on me. The consultant didn't dismiss that my symptoms were real, but more tried to attribute them to a lack of exercise, though I told the consultant I had found exercise increasingly difficult because of my symptoms. The consultant pretty much shrugged off most things I said to them and it seemed like they had decided I wasn't their problem. They offered a medicine I am already taking, they would have known this if they had previously asked about medical history or looked in notes. The consultant offered no diagnosis, no treatment and didn't think to refer me elsewhere.

I have had to adapt to living with an incurable, invisible condition and it has affected my life dramatically. It would be really helpful if you could remind your consultants that despite being 'very healthy' it is possible for things to cause a great burden that they cannot see immediately.

Also, when learning to manage a long term condition I have learned pretty well what is my normal and what is abnormal. Please do not try to tell me what your brief knowledge of my condition is, I live with it and I have done extensive research in order to keep myself healthy and well - I probably know more than you in this instance. Do not try to attribute symptoms you can't explain to my condition, would I really waste your time or my time if it were just another part of my condition? Also, my condition is not a catch all, waste basket of symptoms you cannot explain - please treat me with more dignity than that and look to find answers.

I also really do not feel like I should have to say this, but please when you see patients treat them as whole beings, not just whatever your speciality is. Maybe if I'd been treated holistically I may have come away with an answer or a step towards improving my quality of life rather than just feeling angry. Finally, please treat your patients with empathy - this is really basic stuff, but would you really stop looking for answers so quickly if it were your loved one suffering? I would say probably not.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Hampshire County Hospital

Thank you for your feedback on our cardiology services. I am sorry that your recent visit did not meet the high quality of care we aim to provide. I have shared your comments with the clinical leaders, however, if you wish to discuss this further please contact our customer care team on 01256 486766 or email customercare@hhft.nhs.uk who would be happy to look into your individual circumstances.

Mary Edwards, Chief Executive


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful