"Poor communication about cancer diagnosis at North Devon district hospital"

About: North Devon District Hospital

(as the patient),

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010. My GP sent me to North Devon for a referral and they diagnosed me.

I got my first diagnosis in July 2010. My GP and I had spoken about my symptoms and I knew that it was likely to be serious. However, when I got to North Devon for my referral, the consultant I saw was a poor communicator. I could see that they were taking it seriously, but they wouldn’t say what was actually wrong. They never actually said “you have cancer”. Also, the consultant spoke to my husband and not to me – which I thought was unnecessarily rude. I just wanted some to tell me outright what I had, but I left that first consultation unclear.

The follow up was great. The next time I saw a different consultant, and was finally asked, “do you know what you’ve got?”. I said I thought I had cancer, and they confirmed it. I understand that it’s a delicate issue, but I really felt they could have been a little more direct.

I recently went for a check up to the outpatients to see Mrs. Cross – who is fantastic. Every consultation I’ve had from her has been excellent.

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