"Delay in appointments to treat my father's melanoma"

About: Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre

(as a relative),

My Dad developed prostate cancer, also a black mole on his neck & was given a 12 week dermatology referral. I finally convinced him after 2 weeks to be seen privately. The biopsy came back melanoma, he was then referred to plastics for removal, still private. Unfortunately, due to cost, he needed a neck dissection under the NHS. This led to a referral to the Beatson. He had a lung scan in May, which showed lung nodules and a persistent cough & breathlessness led us to realise it had spread to lungs.

He attended the Beatson, where the consultant informed him that a repeat X-ray, which was organised anyway, of lungs would be done. Also assured him they would find out type of melanoma for treatment. Two weeks later a follow up appointment confirmed the lung spread. The consultant said they would need to refer to another consultant. When we asked when this would be, the consultant assured us immediately this week or next. In fact they picked up the office phone and left a message on a machine. However, the consultant then asked sarcastically if we'd like treatment now, as if it was such an unrealistic expectation. Furthermore, they had no results for melanoma type and no explanation why.

We left with no appointment, no follow up, no support. I phoned the consultant's secretary the next morning who was on annual leave. Another secretary checked and no follow up was made. I phoned again next day and was told the same and was informed an email would be sent to appropriate staff.

I contacted the complaints department who've informed me the appointment will be 2 weeks tomorrow-7. 5 weeks after urgent referral to the Beatson from plastics. Not as quick as we'd like due to the aggressive spread and still not sure when any treatment will start.

My dad is in his 60s, still works, loves watching his grandchildren grow up. I am a healthcare professional and I am fully aware the prognosis isn't good but I only want to know that treatments planned to improve and prolong his limited time left.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear More support,

First of all, I'd like to thank you for getting in touch - I know that this will be a particularly difficult time for your family and so I appreciate you taking the time to highlight the issues you have experienced.

You have already provided a lot of information about your father's journey so far, but it would really help me if you could contact me directly on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk with a few more details. This will help us to take this forward in a more meaningful way.

You have also said that you feel you would like more support during this time so I would like to tell you a little about the Information and Support Service which is located in the Beatson. They will provide advice, support or a friendly ear to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis, whether the patient themselves or any family member, friend or carer. Their website gives a little bit of information about how they can help (http://www.beatson.scot.nhs.uk/content/default.asp?page=s21_12) or you can call them on 0141 301 7390. I hope this provides some support in the meantime.

I hope to hear from you soon, and thank you again for getting in touch.

Best Wishes,


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear More support,

Thank you for getting in touch with me directly - I understand that you have now spoken to members of staff in order to resolve some of the issues which you have highlighted here. The points you raise will be taken on board for future learning and I am glad that we were able to provide you with some additional information which was helpful, however please do not hesitate to get in touch if there is anything further I can do.

I wish you and your father all the best for his future treatment.

Kind Regards,


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Update posted by More support (a relative)

Dear Lorna

Thank you for your help in this matter.

We now have information of treatment and further appointments which is reassuring during this difficult time.

Thank you again.

Kind Regards.