"Demeaning treatment of 7 year old daughter at dermatology clinic"

About: Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Skin conditions

(as a parent/guardian),

Our daughter attended the Dermatology Clinic in the Southern General in mid-May for patch testing. This was following a referral from her Consultant at Yorkhill, Dr. Jury.

We were instructed to remove the patches from her back before she returned for her second visit a few days later. We had great trouble in doing so as our daughter became very distressed and agitated that morning. She was in pain too as we tried to remove them. However, we managed to remove some of the patches before our appointment. We then decided it was best to seek advice once we got to the Clinic as our daughter was on the verge of refusing to go to the hospital at all.

On arrival, several very supportive nurses tried to coax our daughter into having the patches removed. We continued to encourage her too, offering her the incentive of having the afternoon off from school and taking her to the Bear factory at Braehead if she managed to let us remove the patches. The doctor entered the room, glanced at her back and informed our daughter that they could not do their job if she didn't take off the patches. The doctor said that they would see her that evening! They then abruptly left the room.

The nurses and ourselves continued to encourage our daughter and one of the nurses sharply removed a full patch from her back. Our daughter became very distressed and begged for it to stop. 'Mummy, please no!' was one of her cries. One of the senior nurses said that the child was becoming too distressed and that we should stop. She also suggested that our daughter might return when she was a little older to have the tests. She advised us to place her in a bath to soak off the remaining patches. She said the doctor would speak with us.

All the nurses exited the room. The doctor returned. They were clearly frustrated. They aggressively stated that this was a total waste of time. They suggested that parents normally used bribery in this situation! We took exception to this, explaining that we had discussed the incentive of Braehead. We stated quite clearly that we weren't 'stupid' and that as a trained teacher, I had plenty of experience of working with children. All of this was in my daughter’s hearing.

The doctor said it was a shame as clearly our daughter had had some positive reactions to some of the tests. When the doctor asked what we would like them to do about the situation, we asked if they would speak with our daughter. The doctor spoke to our daughter in a very short, sarcastic and impatient tone. Our daughter did not verbally respond, but cowered behind her mother. We asked if perhaps our daughter could return when she was a little older, perhaps at the age of 9. (This had been a suggestion of a senior nurse after all). The blunt response to that was, 'How long's that?'

The doctor then vehemently stated that our daughter would not be returning to have the tests repeated at any time and that they were discharging her from her clinic. They stated that they would write to this effect to Dr Jury. The doctor swiftly exited the room.

We requested information from one of the nurses about the initial diagnosis the doctor had given on Wednesday. The nurse spoke with the doctor who all but threw an information leaflet at us. Our daughter then left the clinic with patches still attached. She was desperate to leave the clinic and return home. She cried all the way home and was still distressed later that day.

We were unable to remove the patches in the bath, even after soaking her skin for half an hour, on two separate occasions. Her skin was becoming increasingly irritated and visibly more red and she was in pain. We consequently phoned her Dermatology Nurse at Yorkhill who gave us advice and we bought plaster remover which, over an extended period of time, did work. Her patches were all finally removed by Saturday afternoon.

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

Dear Arianna,

You have written in great detail about the experience you and your daughter had during this appointment and I am sorry that this experience was not more positive for you as a family.

I understand from the General Manager of this service that you have taken this forward through our official complaints process. This process will be able to look into your experience in much greater detail and provide you with a much more personal response to the issues that you have raised here. If you would like any more information or support in going through this process, the Patient Advice and Support Service is an independent service which is an excellent resource. More information is available on their website at the following link: http://www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk/

With best wishes,


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