"Consent to photography during plastics treatment for cancer surgery"

About: Glasgow Royal Infirmary / General Surgery

(as the patient),

I am getting excellent treatment for my condition and have nothing but praise for just about every aspect of how I have been treated by staff at all levels. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the consultants and others who are organising this potentially life saving treatment of breast cancer.

I hope that this is the correct forum to make a minor point about written information that may help reduce stress for others attending the clinics.

When attending in March 2016 for pre-operative assessment at the plastics unit prior to lumpectomy GRI I was supplied with an extensive information sheet by post that explained what they wished to do with any excess human tissue removed during surgery. This prepared me for the appointment & I was pleased to be able to consent to any use that met the criteria described. I was a little shocked however to be asked at the actual appointment to consent to photography of my breasts without having been given any prior warning. I did consent on the basis of the verbal explanation I was given by a very experienced and empathic nurse who understood and recognised that I was a little taken aback by the request. If a similar info sheet/consent form had been included in the postal package as that included for tissue use I received for the appointment, it would have eased my journey a little by reducing the 'surprise factor'. The nurse appeared to get my point and said that this had been pointed out before and regretted the lack of such a document.

In the scheme of cancer treatment things this is a small matter but as the other consent process was so professional this showed up the issue re photography consent as below other standards achieved elsewhere in my view.

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Responses

Response from Lisa Ramsay, Patient Experience Public Involvement Team Support, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Dear pricklypeach

Thank you very much for taking the time to post on Patient Opinion. I am very pleased to hear how well your treatment is going for breast cancer and appreciate you taking the time to raise an important point about communication between our services and our patients. I am sorry that during your pre-operative assessment you were asked to consent to photography of your breasts with no prior warning and completely understand that you were a little shocked by this. This is not how we want any patient to feel. As you say, prior information that this may be asked of a patient would reduce the ‘surprise factor’ especially as so much information had been shared with you about what to expect in all other aspects of the appointment.

I will pass on your kind words to the service regarding your treatment and especially that of the nurse that you saw during your pre-operative assessment who talked you through what was happening. I will also ask my colleagues from this service to provide an additional update about what we can do to add this to the other information that we provide to help patients prepare for all parts of their appointment.

In the meantime, I would like to wish you all the very best for your operation and the remainder of your treatment.

Best wishes

Lisa

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Response from Lisa Ramsay, Patient Experience Public Involvement Team Support, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde We are preparing to make a change

Dear pricklypeach

On behalf of the plastic surgical service we would like to thank you for taking the time to tell us about your personal experience as a patient. We always appreciate the time taken to do such a thing which allows us the opportunity to make improvements for patients. In terms of your suggestions relating to medical photography, I have had the opportunity to speak with the Head of Medical Photography and our Lead Specialist Nurse and they are both entirely in agreement with you. As such they have committed to work together in producing a patient information leaflet which will be issued pre appointment. We would be happy to send you this when complete if you wished to receive it.

Many Thanks

Julia Little

General Manager

Regional Services

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Update posted by pricklypeach (the patient)

That's great news. I wld love to receive a copy of the leaflet.

Many thanks.

Response from Lisa Ramsay, Patient Experience Public Involvement Team Support, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Dear pricklypeach

If you would like to send your contact details directly to me at Lisa.Ramsay@ggc.scot.nhs.uk then I will be able to pass them on to Julia for you.

Best wishes
Lisa

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