"Humiliated and frustrated by my experience of the gynaecology department"

About: St James's University Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I was referred to gynae last year due to ongoing dyspareunia after a brief period of care with a doctor in Bradford. First I saw a doctor who examined me and diagnosed vaginismus and told me that I needed dialator treatment. I tried to explain that I wasnt having trouble with spasms or cramping up during sex but it was more of a stinging pain but the doctor just ignored me and insited on the diagnosis. I felt that I wasnt listened to. I went along with the treatment but I had no little problem with the dialators as I do not have vaginismus!

Went back and saw a different doctor - a first year doctor (which I learnt from the doctor's ID badge rather than them introducting themselves before giving me an examination) on a training placement who said that this sort of thing "just happens" sometimes and did not listen to my concerns that my diagnosis may not be correct and that the pain was the same. I asked to have an appt with one of the senior doctors.

Unfortunately I arrived 10mins late to my appt with the consultant and I had not been able to call ahead. When I arrived the doctor had their coat on and was about to leave. Throughout the appt I got the impression that they were quite disinterested and was more concerned about getting an early finish. The doctor told me that the first doctor who had examined me was actually a GP on a training program so both the doctors I had seen and had examined me were not even specialists!

The doctor then told me in quite a dismissive and insensitive way that my problem was probably 'psychological'- although there is no good grounding for this and I had not had any investigations or treatment instigated by an actual gynaecologist! The doctor then said they were discharging me from the clinic and left the room. The nurse came in and found me in tears and she must have persuaded them to give me a follow up appt which I never booked anyway as when I left the dept, prior to 5pm, the shutter over reception was closed and when I telephone over the next week the phone just rang out.

I felt humiliated and frustrated by my experience with the gynaecology dept at SJUH. I was given intimate examinations by people who did not introduce themselves or explain their role in the department. I was not listened to and felt that I was dismissed. My difficulties remain the same but I feel that there is little point in returning.

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Response from Sharon Ombler-Spain, Patient Experience, Involvement & Engagement Manager, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Papercup

We are disappointed to hear that you were dissatisfied with your care during you visits to our department. As we do not have specific information we are of course unable to go into detail about clinical issues and are unable to ask the staff involved. However, we are able to make some general comments about the points raised.

We would expect all of our staff to introduce themselves at the start of a consultation and if this did not occur we would like to offer our sincerest apologies. As with the vast majority of clinics the workload is much too great for a consultant to manage alone and to see every patient. Therefore clinics are run by a team of doctors under the overall guidance of a senior gynaecologist. This does, out of necessity, include gynaecologists in training and some GPs who have an interest and a wealth of experience in our specialty. All will have knowledge in gynaecological conditions and will have access to the consultant for advice when required. This is a system that has always run within the NHS in order to see the high number of patients referred to any unit.

The clinical history and examination will point the clinician toward a diagnosis. If any patient is dissatisfied with that diagnosis or management plan, we would encourage them to ask to see the consultant either at the same visit or to make a further appointment. If still dissatisfied or in disagreement, the next step is to ask for a second opinion from a different consultant either from within the same unit or the ask for referral to a different unit.

If patients are unhappy with the standard of care received, we would suggest making a formal written complaint to the Complaints department. With the patient notes and clinical detail available, the clinical issues could be examined, those involved identified and asked to comment on the specific issues raised and a formal response sent from the head of the department.

We would like to apologise again that you did not feel that you received the excellent standard of care that we would wish to offer from our unit

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