Healthwatch Torbay really can make a difference

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2019)

Our Annual Report 2018-19 has just been published, (see our Reports Section below for more details and links to the Plymouth and Devon Healthwatch annual reports)..

This case study is just one of the many examples of our work during the year.

“I visited my GP with a skin condition and was referred to hospital to see the dermatologist. When I saw the consultant, she advised that she needed a biopsy to confirm exactly what the issue was and whether it was cancerous.

“But when I went to the biopsy appointment, they wouldn’t see me because I was in the first trimester of pregnancy, and they didn’t know whether I was able to have a biopsy. No one seemed to know why this was or why they had reached that decision.

“I didn’t know who to ask or what to do, so I came to see Healthwatch Torbay. They spoke with the health trust directly, who investigated and found there was no good reason why it would be inappropriate to perform skin surgery on pregnant patients in their first trimester. They also re-scheduled my appointment so I could have the biopsy I needed.

“Since then, the health trust have apologised for the miscommunication and shared updated recommendations of how this should be dealt with going forwards with all the doctors in the department, as part of a departmental plan to avoid this happening again. This has also been shared more widely with the Surgical Service Delivery Unit so it can be explored further in relation to other surgical procedures for pregnant patients in the first trimester”.

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(Author)

Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!