"Poor communication, patronising, unprofessional,..."

About: University College Hospital

What I liked

I liked the emphathy and sensitivity of the receptionist

What could be improved

I explained that I had an anal fissure to the doctor and that I was bleeding when going to the toilet. I explained that I needed to be seen by a specialist as I had been seen by a nurse and a doctor in a walk in centre and I needed to be exhamined by someone who knew what I was talking about. He told me that he had to visit me first. I agreed to it. It was the third doctor who would insert a finger in my swollen and extremely painful anus in the week.

After the visit he told me that::

- I wasn't bleeding (when I got back home on the toilet paper there was blood)

-that he could feel some swelling inside but in his opinion it was an heamorrhoid instead of a fissure and the ointment prescribed was just fine.

I pointed out that I have had a history of haemorroids since 1995 and fissure since 2008 and that I knew what I was talking about.

He told me that to see what was inside an inspection with a light would have been needed. I told him that it was exactly what I wanted so the extent of the fissure could be seen and I could be advised on what to do. He told me quite embarrassed that he couldn't do it. I really don't get all this embarassment around the anal area, since we all need to pass stools to survive.

He then told me he would speak to the rectal team and off he went. He came back with two syringes of lidocaine and said that the team had my number and that I would be contacted but he failed to say when.

I only asked to be seen by a specialist and I was bleeding and in extreme pain. I was denied to see a specialist. I was told that I was not bleeding and that I had a heamorrhoid instead of a fissure. This is highly debatable without an exhamination of my internal state which I was not allowed to have. I have now booked a flight to Italy to be seen by a specialist. And I will make a formal complaint about this as soon as I come back.

Anything else?

Patronising behaviour by the doctor who told me that I had to improve my diet without saying how, assuming there was something wrong with my diet (which is not the case otherwise I would be in for this problem far more often than once in 4 years) and not believing me when I told him my diet was alright and this had nothing to do with constipation. He basically denied everything I had to say about my health as if he knew better than myself.

The doctor was embarassed all throughout the process and I found this highly unprofessional. I certainly don't enjoy this kind of visits (especially when I have to go through 3 of them without being able to see a specialist) and finding someone who is embarassed is even worse as it puts shame on you too. Now I am only very angry and upset about what I had to go through on top of the pain (I'm still in pain by the way). And I am financially challenged by having to fllight to Italy to receive proper treatment. It is a shame of the system but I hope that my comment will at least contribute to proper training and a change in practices so someone else in my situation won't have to endure what I had to.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from University College Hospital

We are sorry to read that your experience in the hospital was not satisfactory. All patient comments and complaints are monitored and taken seriously. We would like to pass on your concerns to the relevant department for action to be taken. If you would like to provide further details please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 020 3447 3042 or by email to pals@uclh.nhs.uk

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