"Consultation at the dermatology outpatient clinic "

About: Horsham Hospital / Dermatology

(as the patient),

Following a request by myself for a referral from my GP to the dermatology clinic I was sent a letter informing me of the time and place of this appointment. No other information was provided apart from an ethnicity monitoring form.

I was collected promptly from the waiting area by a nurse who took me to a consulting room and instructed me to undress down to my underwear. When I looked taken aback, she informed me that the doctor liked to check all areas for lesions. She then left the room.

I was rather surprised However I complied.

I then sat on the hospital examination trolley, in my underwear, for some minutes feeling rather foolish and vulnerable.

After some minutes, the dermatologist entered the room introduced himself and his colleage. He asked me what I would like him to look at, rapidly diagnosed "sun damage" and informed me he would treat it with cryotherapy.

The procedure completed he then gave me some written information about cryotherapy and what to expect afterwards.

I asked what had helped him to make his diagnosis and although he seemed surprised at my question he answered readily. I also had to ask for clarification as to what to look for to signify healing.

At no time was I asked if I was concerned about the lesion, nor was I reassured that I had acted correctly in seeking a referral. I was not asked about my lifestyle related to outdoor activity/exposure to sun and was not offered any advice regarding prevention/monitoring of future lesions. I was not asked if I was aware of any other lesion elsewhere on my skin.

In my opinion I did not give valid consent for the procedure as it was not explained to me beforehand, including how necessary the treatment was or possible consequences of not having the treatment.

I felt demeaned by the whole encounter and was astonished at my emotional response to this.

I feel the doctor should have met me before I was asked to undress, In addition there should have been period between the examination and diagnosis and provision of treatment in order that I could have read the information and agreed to the procedure.

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Response from Fionnula Robinson, Director of Communications, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear SuperG

I was so sorry to read of your experience. I will pass your comments on to the dermatology team but if you would like to talk to someone about your treatment you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01737 231958 or email pals@sash.nhs.uk.

Kind regards,


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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust We have made a change

May I take this opportunity to thank you for bringing to my attention your thoughts on the way the clinic runs. Clearly I have taken your thoughts into account and we will endeavour to ensure that patients are always offered a gown prior to being examined, and also have the opportunity to speak to me if they wish to, prior to being examined as well.

Best wishes

Dr Sandeep H Cliff

Updates, changes and questions related to this story