"Struck off for being 11 mins late"

About: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

(as the patient),

I wish to make a complaint against my NhS surgery which is Springburn Health Centre Glasgow and some members of staff.

I had 4pm appointment with the Dr, I telephoned the surgery at 15. 44 call lasted 1 min 21 secs to advise them that I was running late, at this point I did not give the reason for my lateness. I was told that was ok and thanked.   

I arrived at the doctors surgery at 4. 11 pm, when I was told by the receptionist that because I was late I would not be seeing the doctor and that I would have to make another appointment. I told the receptionist that I had made the appointment nearly 2 weeks ago and needed to see a doctor and explained that the reason I was late was due to my 18 month old grandson falling and banging his head, however this still would have got me there on time, but on route the road I had taken which was Peterhill road cutting off to the right taking you to Springburn was closed down, I had to do a detour back onto Peterhill road onto the A803 taking me into Springburn via Atlas road. I was told that I was still not going to see a doctor. My reply was that I had been with this practice for over 20 years and never needed a doctor more than I needed one today, I was told again that no way was I going to see a doctor. At this point I did raise my voice and said that I was not leaving until I had seen a doctor. I was told to take a seat and she would send a message to the doctor.

I had sat for at least 20 minutes when my daughter and grandson came in, in a way I was glad as you could see the nasty bump on his head. At this point there were 2 other people in the surgery. A short while after a man enter and proceeded to reception I didn't really pay attention to what was being said, but it was quite hard not to hear the receptionist shouting to the man as he sat down that as he was only 10 mins late the doctor would see him, turning her head to look at me. My daughter got quite upset with the way I had been treated.

Some more time passed I think it was about 10 to 5 when the receptionist called me to the desk to advise me that no doctor would see me. I got really upset I could not believe that my doctor was refusing to see me. My daughter started wrongly shouting at the receptionist, as it didn't help that once again she seemed to have a disrespectful look on her face and in my opinion showed no empathy towards my situation, which in all honesty encouraged my daughters response. I am not making excuses for her she was in opinion wrong to say what she did. I asked my daughter to leave and wait in the car.

At this point another lady had come from the back office and then the dr appeared, and asked what was happening.

I told them that I needed to see and a doctor and had been refused because I had been late, also mentioned the way I had been treated which I thought was appalling, again I explained I had been with this surgery for 25 years and very seldom used the service. I repeated all of the above with tears rolling down my face, to be told that all patients are treated the same. My response was I beg to differ, I have sat in the surgery with my own mother and watched as patients dependent on drugs demand to see a doctor, were they seen, yes., I have also sat for my own appointment and my mothers for over an hour, had I ever complained? No, never, I appreciated and valued the doctors at my surgery.

At this point I was still crying, the doctor just stood in silence. I asked for the complaints procedure, a document was handed to me and I left.

I was in shock at the way I had been treated, it was more disbelief that as a patient needing my doctors help I was turned away. I never needed my doctor more, I have been a successful business women within my community retired 2 years ago, a mother of 2 children no addictions, no time wasting visits to my surgery.

For the past year I have had severe stomach problems and battled very hard with depression, until a month ago I went to see the doctor, explained  how I was feeling and that I was really struggling with day to day life and told them that I could quite happily die, not that I had any suicidal thoughts but I am unstable. I was prescribed with sertraline and diazepam. I started the medication in February probably around 1 week after seeing the doctor. The medication had severe effects on me, I was totally unable to function, I could not sleep I have been scratching myself to the extend that I bleed, 3 weeks into taking the medication I did have suicidal thoughts, at this point I knew I needed to see the doctor agian, I telephoned around for an appointment I was given the the earliest appointment for 10 days later. On the morning of the appointment I took an anxiety or panic attack, I suffer with asthma which did not help, my daughter was in a panic and wanted to call an ambulance, I refused as I would be seeing the doctor that afternoon. I managed to control my breathing with the aid of my inhalers and breathing exercise, after excessive vomiting.

I left my doctors surgery in tears, and put a brave face on for my daughter who was still furious with the receptionist. I went home to try and understand what had just happened. And concerns with what I was going to do as I needed my medication as I had none left. Without exaggeration had I been alone that night I truly believe I would have harmed myself, had it not been for a friend staying with me all weekend. I kept replaying in my mind how I trusted my doctor, how understanding they had been, they were a professional person who has sworn an oath to help sick people, why was I turned away when they knew my condition. I made the decision then to change surgeries. I realised that there was no real concern for the patient like everything else we had become a number and that they were good at giving people hope but it was a facade.

This morning I knew that I would have to contact the surgery as it would take time to register with a new surgery, and I needed medication and also a doctors line. I telephoned and after 12 mins and 33 secs the call was answered, I advised the receptionist that I needed a repeat prescription and a doctors line, I was advised I would need to call through on a different number for my prescription, asked for my details for the sick line and said I would need to be put on hold. The call was terminated from there end. I then recalled, after 16 mins and 52 sec my call was answered the receptionist knew who I was and advised that I was being put through to a senior member of staff. Quite matter of fact they advised me that I had been struck of the surgery and gave me a number to call. I asked why had I been stuck of, I was told it was because of a recent incident . I asked them did they know what had happened, the reply was not really, ring the number and they will help you, and I hung up.

I have spent the remainder of the afternoon replaying everything in my mind to try and make sense of it and I can't, I'm have been humiliated and embarrassed and brought to tears because I was 11 mins late on my watch for my appointment. Actually had I gone by the clock in the surgery it was 9 mins past 4 when I stood and waited at reception to be attended to.

Let's say I did not have the support I have around me, and I did take my life or I was a younger person crying for help on this day to be refused help for the sake of 11 mins. , who would be answerable, did the doctor know, or did the receptionist make that decision.

I appreciate that the surgery has to run to timescales, but I was late for unexpected reasons, the surgery was empty, would it really have impacted the doctors schedule that drastically, I am a women in my 50s standing in front of 3 people tears streaming down my face telling them I need to see a doctor.... Where is the humanity in that. Even if they had said you would need to wait until the end of surgery, I would have accepted that and waited.

I need to understand where is the responsibility, where is the medical assistance, what do I do now. Ring a number, I'm struggling to wash myself, communicate with my immediate family yet I am expected to call a number and talk to a complete stranger about my medical condition, that I am struggling and embarrassed to come to terms with, I'm a desperate person, I am in a place I have never been before in my life.

I want to understand on what grounds have I been struck off for, was it for raising my voice, or crying in front of 3 adults. I want to now who made the decision to strike me off was my doctor informed, were my medical needs addressed and or even considered.

The complaint leaflet states I should address my complaint to the practice and it will be investigate, however I spoke to them this afternoon and they are aware of an incident and the decision to strike me off had been made in my opinion without any investigation.

I will print off and provide a copy of this email to the doctor and a copy to the surgery, my MP and any newspaper that might interested. People need to be made aware.

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Responses

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

Dear Bojangles,

I am really sorry to read this and how this series of events has escalated to this point where you feel without support for your medical condition. GP surgeries are responsible for managing their own complaints, but I would like to help as much as I can to get you to some sort of resolution here.

Each GP surgery has a Practice Manager who is responsible for taking on board feedback from patients and responding to complaints about their practice. This would be the best person to contact to talk through what has happened here and about the way forward. I understand that your current health might make this difficult, and so I would also like to tell you about a service that can provide excellent support in guiding you through this process. The Patient Advice and Support Service are skilled in helping people through situations just as you describe - they can help you to work through the situation and make contact with the practice, even by letter if that would be easier for you. I know that the GP provided you with a number to call which you felt unable to do, however the Patient Advice and Support Service are excellent at supporting people in this way, and are a completely independent and confidential service. Your daughter or another family member could even talk to them on your behalf if better. All the details for this service are on their website: http://www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk/

I would also be happy to pass on your comments directly to the Practice Manager, if you could let me know which particular practice it is you attended (there are a few based in Springburn Health Centre). You can do this by emailing me directly on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

Whichever route you choose to go down, I hope that you get as soon as possible the support that you need.

Best Wishes,

Lorna

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