"Poor attitude of doctor"

About: Leighton Hospital / Paediatrics

(as a parent/guardian),

Like many families, we have required the services of a variety of NHS services relating to our children. From my wife's first pregnancy, we have used a maternity hospital, walk-in centres, GP surgeries, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, health visitors, and the North West Ambulance Service.

Up to today, our experiences have been broadly very positive. We have met wonderful doctors, Health Care Assistants, nurses who take the time to listen, who make eye contact, and have open body language that makes you feel reassured that your concerns are being listened to and will be addressed. Most will also address our children directly, even joke around and in the case of a doctor at Alder Hey, draw a picture of Mickey Mouse for our eldest son - it is absolutely crucial that our boys, in an environment which is new and can be confusing and unsettling, are made to feel that the person they are seeing is benevolent and friendly, and ultimately there to help them.

Today our young son was very anxious about seeing the doctor. We came to Krishnan Chandran Children's Centre at Leighton Hospital (Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust). He was very distressed so it took a lot of persuading to get him into the building, but once there we were pleasantly surprised to see how much entertainment was provided or young children in the waiting are and he seemed to have relaxed. After a bit more persuading he provided a urine sample and the staff in the waiting area (maybe HCAs or nurses) were fantastic – very patient and accommodating.

But once we were called in we were confronted with a doctor who barely looked up from the piece of paper they were jotting notes onto and did not address our son once.   The doctor asked that we get our son to lie down on the bench, which my wife tried to do while I held our baby. While she continued to explain the problem and our concerns the doctor simply barked that my son still needed to be undressed on the bed.    It was so obvious that the doctor was giving no regard to our son’s anxiety (or indeed our own concerns for our son) that my wife felt compelled to whisper that our son was very nervous about the appointment. It got no reaction or acknowledgement at all, and certainly did not improve the doctor's attitude.

I felt compelled to write this because my son is at a formative age. His view of doctors, and all medical professionals, will be based around these early experiences. It is imperative that we all feel we can go to a doctor and be open about our ailments in order to give ourselves the best chance of appropriate treatment and speedy recovery. I genuinely fear that today’s experience has set him back in his regard and undone a lot of the good work done by the countless other medical professionals we have seen before.

I hope for the sake of other child patients that something can be done to at the very least encourage the doctor to consider the impact his attitude could be having on the young patients who pass through the door, so that other families do not have the experience we had today.

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Response from Leighton Hospital

Thank you for your comments.

We pay close attention to all feedback and are very sorry that your experience in our outpatients department was not satisfactory.

Our staff work hard – as you have noticed - to provide a family and child friendly environment and consultation.

We shall make the outpatient medical staff aware of your concerns, but if you would like to give more specific feedback please contact the Customer Care Team on 01270 612410. We can then respond to directly to you or arrange a meeting to discuss the specific issues you have highlighted.

Dr Alistair Thomson, Consultant Paediatrician and Helen Carlon, Unit Manager

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