"Dismissive, dismissive, dismissive"

About: Mount Vernon Hospital

My treatment at physio was disjointed, inconsistent and above all dismissive. I left two appointments in floods of tears and after the second, when I was given no further appointments, I had to have two months off work sick as I was in such a bad state.

My first physio was reassuring, thorough and very competent. Sadly their holidays meant my appointments were all over the place. I also had an appointment with a student and I wasn't asked if I would be happy with this. They were over 10 minutes late (for a 30 min appt) and then spent another 10 minutes taking a history that had already been provided, before a few minutes of treatment. Needless to say the drive to and from physio made me worse off than if I hadn't bothered for such a small amount of care.

Then my excellent first physio transferred and I was passed onto a third physio with the promise of acupuncture. My first appointment the new physio spends all of 5 minutes with me giving me exercises to do and sends me out the door. At 6 months down the line of back pain and having tried all the exercises under the sun which were no help, this was so dismissive.

I was told constantly it was 'posture'. In actual fact I have an inflammatory condition causing pain in lower back. I felt blamed for my pain by constantly told I was in pain due to posture and to sit better/do exercises.

I was told I had had 6 sessions and needed another referral from GP to continue which the physio assured me they would do. However this didn't happen, I was shoved out the door at my last appointment in more pain than when I started, with the prospect of no more help and treatment and in floods of tears. As above, I then had two months off work sick. This is no way to treat someone in pain.

I am still in pain 10 months later and am waiting for injections to treat the inflammation in my back and muscle problems. If I had had more diligent care from this physio department early on maybe I wouldn't be in such a bad state now.

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Response from Mount Vernon Hospital

Thank you for your comments,

I am pleased that you found the first Physiotherapist you saw reassuring, thorough and very competent, these are some of the values we expect all our staff to display every time. I am sorry that you did not find this was the case with the rest of your experience.

We try our best to ensure patients are seen by the same physiotherapist each attendance, so time is not wasted by another physiotherapist having to understand your condition, however this is not always achievable as staff may have to cover other areas or transfer, and we are sorry if this was the case for your treatments.

It is our policy that patients should always be asked if they mind being treated by a student (supervised by a senior physiotherapist) and if this didn’t happen on this occasion I can only apologise. Patients can decline from being treated by a student at any point in their treatment without it affecting their future treatment.

I am sorry you felt blamed for your Pain. I am sure this was not the intention of the physiotherapist in anyway but they wanted to ensure you were aware of the importance of maintaining a good posture to avoid aggravating your condition or inflammation further.

Research evidence has shown that exercise is usually one of the most effective treatments for back pain.

Many patients do find acupuncture can be helpful although sometimes others find it only gives short term relief.

Without knowing the full details of your case I am not sure why this wasn’t given and why you were discharged in the way you describe.

We are very sorry that your experience was not satisfactory on this occasion. If you wish to provide your details we would be happy to look into your specific concerns further.

I hope you find your planned injections helpful for your pain.

Should you attend physiotherapy again in the future I trust your care will meet your expectations next time and if you do have any concerns please let us know at the time and we can then address them appropriately.

Graham Coombs , Manager Physiotherapy Department

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