"Gynae Appt"

About: Croydon University Hospital

In February I was diagnosed with endometriosis and after waiting 4 months I looked forward to my appt with Mayday Gynae dept last week. However the appt itself was hugely frustrating; the registrar gave me no information as to why I currently have so many physical problems, no practical advice as to how best I manage the condition and no prognosis. They merely pointed out that I was 41, 'didn't have much time left and should get pregnant', as if somehow that thought had never occurred to me. With endometriosis sex is very painful so it's unclear as to why they thought this was something I could just go home and get on with. Perhaps on reflection I should have enquired as to whether there was a sperm bank located within Mayday and asked them for directions. After what felt like several minutes of being glared at, it became obvious they weren't interested in my personal circumstances and I explained that pregnancy simply wasn't an option for me at this time. 'I'm only telling you what is best', they replied tersely as if I had somehow offended them with this shocking statement.

They then proceeded to tell me how endometriosis causes pain and depression which is a bit like the weather forecast telling you how many inches of rain fell on your house yesterday without any indication of what might happen tomorrow. As if reading from an autocue they unenthusiastically explained that surgery rarely works for this condition and that my GP will prescribe me something which will 'probably have unpleasant side effects'. It was so encouraging to hear all of that. It's also worth pointing out that they weren't in possession of the results of the ultrasound probe I'd had in Mayday in February so they couldn't tell me anything personally related to me as a patient that I couldn't have googled myself at home. As I got up to leave, they chuckled and said to me; 'I'm sure you weren't expecting to hear this today', presumably referring to the notion that I should rush out into Croydon and find someone to knock me up. Putting on my coat it occurred to me that if I'd had any actual help and advice from them I'd be genuinely smiling instead of laughing ironically.

Interestingly I've been told that the letter written about my consultation states 'options were discussed as to how best to proceed'. In no way does this reflect my experience on the day. I've had aggravated symptoms of this disease for almost two years now. The pain and brutal fatigue have had a devastating impact on my life. I'm furious that someone paid to look after me would achieve the almost impossible feat of making me feel even worse about myself than I already do.

With my GP I'll be discussing a referral to a hospital where patients are treated with respect and support. But if I want to wait for the best part of 4 months only to have an entire morning wasted while I'm patronised with vague, impersonal 'information' about my condition, I'll be sure to return to Gynae at Mayday.

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Response from Croydon University Hospital

We are sorry to learn of your poor experience. Your comments have been passed to the senior staff responsible for the department so that they are aware of your concerns. It has not been possible, from the information provided, to identify who was responsible for your care and treatment. If you are able to contact our PALS office with more information about your concerns, your circumstances will be fully investigated. Our PALS office may be contacted by telephone on 020 8401 3210 or by email at ch-tr.pals@nhs.net The office is open during the week from 9am to 4:45pm.

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