"Unhelpful Rheumatology Department"

About: Addenbrooke's Hospital

As someone who has been suffering from chronic pain for a few years now, I was referred to Rheumatology regarding Fibromyalgia. During my long wait time, I was presented with a series of long forms to complete, which was very uncomfortable to manage stooped over them on my lap in a hospital corridor. As these appear to be standard chronic pain analysis forms, it makes sense to me to send them out with appointment letters, to avoid this unexpected discomfort.

In my appointment I felt very hurried by the doctor. Behind their charming smile and welcoming demeanour, I felt that the doctor had no genuine interest in helping me, or empathy for my condition, and that they were in a rush to signpost me elsewhere so as to get on with their day. The doctor didn't seem to genuinely look for any other possible underlying causes and was quick to dismiss the concerns I have around joint pain that I am not convinced are explained by Fibromyalgia. I felt that antidepressants were pushed on me with a confident smile and bold assurances to simply rush me out of the door. Their advice was that I should just exercise more and ignore the crippling pain, swelling, bruising, and fatigue that this results in for me, as though the physical symptoms are exclusively psychological manifestations. As a working single parent, I am not laying around wallowing in self-pity all day, I am forced to be active every day, and I had already told the doctor that I do daily pilates to take care of my muscles and try to control my back pàin.

My questions regarding long term lower back pain and chronic muscular spasms were glossed over, and my back was not examined. I suspect that I damaged it when I was younger but may never know now. There is a long wait time to see Doctors who can help with such problems, so it is very disheartening to finally get seen by one who clearly feels that you are not worth their time or effort.

I understand that Doctors are busy, like everyone else, and that there is a stereotyped negative perception of Fibromyalgia sufferers among the medical community, but we deserve to be treated as individuals and given a fair hearing before being hurried out of the door with drugs we don't really want, and demoralising advice to just get on with it.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Addenbrooke's Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to provide detailed feedback on your recent appointment, and I am very sorry to learn that it was so disappointing.

I have passed your comments to the department so that they are aware of your suggestion regarding the completion of forms, but I would also welcome the opportunity to look into your concerns about your care and respond to you in detail.

If you would like to receive a personal response, please could you contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01223 216756 or email pals@addenbrookes.nhs.uk.

Once again, I am sorry to hear about your poor experience.

Complaints and PALS Manager

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