"Unhelpful GP care for my neck lump"

About: Bolton PCT

(as the patient),

I no longer live in the area in which this occurred but it has put me off going to any GP for life. I had had a swelling in my neck for some time and I asked the GP I saw at my practice about it (not my own GP - I have never seen my own GP - even at the practice where I live now).

He told me I had a lump there and that it required urgent investigation. He sent me down to the hospital for blood tests and told me to book a CT scan whilst I was there. As I found out, only the GP can book a radiology scan and, already in a state of some panic, I was given short shrift by the radiology department which didn't help at all. I rang the surgery to tell them about the scan and they said 'oh yes - he remembered after you'd gone'.

I had been urgently referred to the hospital for investigation but I heard nothing, so I contacted my GP again and they said I'd have to wait 10 months for a scan. I was then asked if I wanted to go private which I didn't understand at all because I had been told that the referral was urgent so why should I pay for it?

I then spent the next two months hearing nothing and in paroxysms of anxiety, until I finally had had enough and complained to my PCT, my MP and the Department of Health because for all I knew, I could have cancer and every day might have counted. Within two weeks I was offered a CT scan having been told rather nastily by another GP at the practice: 'don't think I'm referring you just because you've complained'.

I had an operation to remove the (thankfully) benign lump and was told by the hospital that I needed two weeks off work to minimise the risk of infection which might enter through the wound in my throat. I was only given a week's sick note from the hospital though and was told to telephone my GP for a note for the second week.

The GP surgery flatly refused to give me another note without seeing me, and would not speak to the consultant at the hospital to validate my claim. I explained that there was nothing to see as it was a long way down my throat but they insisted. I went down to the surgery, through all the germs in the waiting room that the hospital had advised me to avoid, to ask for a sick note for a further week and the GP I saw implied I was malingering.

At this point I got upset as I had only recently had surgery and my neck and throat were still badly bruised. Furthermore I have never taken more than two day's sick leave in any year and, as I explained to him, I was only trying to follow the advice given by the consultant (whom I telephoned after I'd called the GP surgery to check I had actually understood the instructions correctly).

To boot, this GP filmed my consultation (because he was a trainee) and my husband had to ask him to stop. I got the sick note but left feeling utterly disabused of any trust I ever had in the general practitioner profession. This happened three years ago but it has stayed with me to the extent that I would not go to my GP for any reason now.

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