Mabel is seventy three years old and asked for support to make a complaint against her GP Practice after her cancer treatment was delayed.

Mabel had received a cancer diagnosis and was waiting to be referred for treatment. She should have been triaged within 2 weeks but Mabel had post-menopausal bleeding so the GP delayed the referral so that she could have some tests. Mabel had to wait 13 weeks before she was referred for her cancer treatment. In this time she saw three doctors and two nurses but no one highlighted the urgency of her situation.

Mabel wrote a letter of complaint and the GP Practice responded with an apology. Mabel noticed a number of inconsistencies which she was unhappy with in their response.

Mabel contacted POhWER and was allocated an Advocate – Lian. Lian helped Mabel to arrange a meeting with the practice manager and then accompanied Mabel to the meeting. Mabel was grateful to have the opportunity to speak to them face to face.

Following the meeting, Mabel and Lian discussed details of the case and agreed next actions. Mabel requested audio recordings of the meeting she had with the practice manager. Lian and Mabel agreed, once Mabel had received the recording and had time to listen to the contents, that Lian should send an email to the GP Practice to request a final response letter. Lian liaised with the Practice Manager to aid smooth communication between Mabel and the Practice.

Lian discussed the option of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) should Mabel wish to take the complaint further. Lian answered Mabel’s questions about these options and gave her a print out of the PHSO information pack.

Mabel received a final response letter from the GP Practice. She felt that her issues had been addressed in the final response letter. She felt that her voice has been heard and no longer wanted to pursue her complaint to PHSO level. She hopes that her complaint has raised awareness of catching and treating cancer early and that referrals should be made in a timely manner so that future patients don’t experience the delays and anxiety that she did.

Lian’s support enabled Mabel to protect her right to freedom of expression (Human Rights Act 1998) by helping her to raise her complaint and be heard by the GP Practice. By raising her complaint Mabel was able to protect her right to life (Human Rights Act 1998) by challenging the GP Practice when they made the decision to delay treatment which she felt affected her life expectancy.