"Breast lump examination"

About: Market Surgery

(as the patient),

I want to know why, when I told the receptionist that I had found a lump I wanted checking out, (but I preferred to see a female doctor) I was offered an appointment 5 days hence? When pushed I got it down to 4 (Thurs-Mon). When The Cancer services state that if you find a lump, you should see a doctor straight away!

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Responses

Response from Practice Manager Market Surgery, Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group

Dear WorriedWath,

Thank you for taking the time to make comments on our services.

I spoke to the reception team with regard to this issue last week, one of which remembered your call.

When a patient contact the surgery we offer the next routine available appointment. If a patient asks to be seen sooner, the receptionist will ask if its urgent or offer alternatives. For example, if the next appointment with a female is five days away, they will offer an appointment with a male GP in two days.

With regard to breast lumps, you should be seen as soon as practically possible. I have spoken with one of our GP’s who have explained that the appointment you have is within a reasonable timeframe.

If you would like any further clarification I am more than happy to discuss this, I can be contacted on the main surgery number (01709) 870150.

Regards,

Chris Skelton

PRACTICE MANAGER

Update posted by Worried Wath (the patient)

Having just read the response from the practice manager at Market surgery, I am not satisfied with what was said. I did ask for a 'sooner' appointment than 5 days hence and was not asked if my circumstances were urgent. I was offered an appointment 4 days away instead. I then told the receptionist that I had found a lump and was told there were no earlier appointments. She advised me that I could ring the following morning to see if there were any vacant appointments. I'm not blaming the receptionist for this as it appears to be Market surgery policy.

In my opinion it is not acceptable to tell a woman who has just found a breast lump to ring in the next day to find out if she can get an appointment before 4 days time. If the lump is a cancerous tumour, it won't stop growing or spreading for 4 days while the patient makes themselves sick with worry waiting to see their GP.

I did ring the next morning (Friday) and was told there were lots of free appointments. I was seen by Dr Chambers who was wonderful and got things moving straight away. In my circumstances I believe I should have been offered one of the Friday appointments as soon as I had found a lump. I am not happy with the surgery managers attitude towards this.

The NHS (local or otherwise) has a policy that says a person, in these circumstances, should receive a Hospital appointment within 2 weeks. I personally think Market Surgery should have a policy that the patient should be seen a lot sooner than 4 days. I do not believe this is acceptable. I suggest that Market Surgery needs to change their policy on this.

Response from Practice Manager Market Surgery, Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group We are preparing to make a change

Dear WorriedWath,

I am sorry that you were not satisfied with my response, you have added some further context to what happened which has allowed me to understand more about what happened. I want to address the key points of your feedback and take some further action.

In terms of our practice policy, when we offer a patient a routine appointment we will offer the next available routine appointment. If the patient wishes to be seen sooner the receptionist will ascertain if the problem is urgent. In this case, you obviously disclosed the reason for the appointment. In cases such as breast lumps, the receptionist should have referred you to our doctor on call who would have made arrangements to see you in an agreed timeframe, usually this is the same day.

You should not have been asked to ring back the next day. This is not our practice policy.

We do release a small number of appointments on the day for patients who are acutely unwell and need to see a GP the same day. That is why when you rang back on Friday, there were appointments available. However we don’t offer these in advance to ensure we have the right amount of capacity for our demand.

The two week wait rule applies for hospitals to see patients within two weeks from the date of referral by a GP. As a practice, we would want to see patients with any concerning symptoms as soon as possible and our appointment system is designed and managed to facilitate this.

Clearly, in your case that is not what happed and I will be take action to ensure that the receptionists are aware of your experience and reiterate the practice policy to prevent this.

I am truly sorry that you have had this experience and I am pleased to hear that you have now been seen by Dr Chambers who has taken the appropriate action.

Regards,

Chris Skelton

PRACTICE MANAGER

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