A HEAVILY pregnant woman from Kidderminster says she was refused a GP appointment after her doctor dialled the wrong number and was “racially abused” by the person who answered the phone.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, tried to book an appointment at Kidderminster Medical Centre for a suspected eye infection on Thursday, April 4 and says she was told a doctor would call her back.
But when the woman called again later that day, she was allegedly told the doctor would not see her because she had “racially abused” a member of staff.
Speaking to The Shuttle, her partner said: “I came home from work early on Thursday because she wasn’t feeling very well.
“The doctor still hadn’t rang her back so we went to the chemist and while we were there she realised she had a voicemail from the practice manager saying to call her back.
“She called her and broke down into tears in the car. I had to pull over.
“She said the doctor was refusing to speak to her or see her because she had apparently been racially abusive to him on the phone.
“I went straight to the doctors that afternoon and was told at reception that they had listened to the phone recording and that was that. But they wouldn’t show me the phone number and wouldn’t let me listen to the recording.”
Kidderminster Medical Centre, based off The Ringway, then sent the woman a letter advising her to find a new practice.
The letter, signed by the site manager, read: “I have had the opportunity to review this call and I can confirm that I too found the content of your conversation racist, abusive and aggressive.
“As a result of this I would like to request you register with a different GP practice in the area with immediate effect.
“As you are pregnant we will continue to support your health issues until you have done as requested, however I insist that you re-register elsewhere within the week.
“This type of behaviour is intolerable. I suggest you refrain from using this type of language as all practices have a zero tolerance for this – you may find that you will have trouble accessing health care in future.”
When the couple returned to the surgery on Monday morning (April 8) to listen to the recording, they were apparently told a mistake had been made.
“The doctor couldn’t apologise enough,” said the woman’s partner. “Apparently they pressed the wrong digit on the phone and rang the wrong number. But an apology isn’t good enough.
“My partner has been in bed crying all weekend and I’ve had to stay home from work to look after her. I’m self-employed so I’ve lost four days’ money.
“The medical centre accused her of racial abuse and have refused her care since Thursday. They didn’t fulfil their duty of care.”
The couple say they have already made a complaint to the Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Kidderminster Medical Centre, which is rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission, said they could not comment on the incident due to “patient confidentiality” and a spokesman for the CCG said it was unable to comment on individual cases.
However, a follow-up letter from the practice, received today (April 12), read: “I would like to apologise for the mistake that was made.
“We have to take abuse of any nature seriously in order to protect both staff and patients that access health care here at Kidderminster Medical Centre.”
The letter said the doctor had misdialled one digit when making the call.