"Physiotherapy was a disaster."

About: University Hospital (Coventry)

What I liked

I attended this hospital for physiotherapy. One of the three physios I saw made an observation about my shoulder partically dislocating when I lift up my arm, which was actually vaguely helpful, as I had not noticed this before. Unfortunately, this was the only positive thing I experienced in my four months of treatment.

What could be improved

It would be nice if the staff treated patients with some basic respect and courtesy. The physiotherapists seemed not interested in actually helping me, frequently treated me as sub-human and were patronising, arrogant and rude.

I was passed on from my first physio to the second with no explanation whatsoever, just "you will be seeing someone else next time". Physio 1 also used some quite inappropriate language in explaining the exercises, I am an adult and can grasp exercises without being talked to like I am 5-year-old.

Physios 2 and 3 were the most arrogant human beings I have ever encountered. One of them insisted that my condition was not actually the cause of my problems; the other seriously claimed that it would magically disappear on my 30th birthday. Whenever I challenged this by pointing to recent research and academic studies, they dismissed me by saying I had no medical knowledge so didn't understand the studies, and that they were expert senior physios and I should not be doubting them.

Both refused to write exercises down for me, even though I asked for this repeatedly as I tend to struggle to remember them. Some of the treatment left me in pain for days and one of the physios actually made me cry during a session by forcing me hyperextend my spine. They did not even apologise, but said if I didn't like the exercises, they wouldn't be able to help me.

I contacted PALS over my concerns with Physio 2 and they were useless. They went straight to the physio and told them I had complained. If I had felt I could have discussed my concerns with the physio, I wouldn't have gone to PALS! The physio then shouted at me over the phone as to why I had made a complaint. PALS never bothered to contact me again either, not even to check whether the situation had been resolved.

Anything else?

I realise physios will not be familiar with every condition, but that does not excuse acting arrogantly and treating patients in the way I have been treated. I would have been happy with a physio who was willing to learn about my condition, listen to me and treat me vaguely like a human being. I actually discharged myself eventually as I felt the treatment was doing more harm than good. Correct physiotherapy is one of the few ways my condition can be managed and prevented from getting worse, but I have serious concerns about ever attending this department again.

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Responses

Response from University Hospital (Coventry)

Thank you for taking the time to provide further feedback on your experience. We were sorry to hear that your experience with our PALS did not live up to your expectations and your feedback has been passed on to them directly, for them to act on as appropriate. Also, please be assured that the Trust does have a formal complaints process for dealing with complaints about clinical care, which is continually monitored, as we use this and other feedback to help us improve the experience of our patients. You can access this service by emailing complaints@uhcw.nhs.uk.

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