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Discrimination within the NHS

Hello there,

I am currently studying my Access to Nursing studies and for an assignment I must gain some primary research. I am doing an assignment on the Anti Discriminatory Practice and how this relates to provision of healthcare in the NHS. Please, if you have a minute any information would be very much appreciated. I am going to throw a few questions into the air and any that may catch your eye I would really appreciate some feedback.

Have you experienced any discrimination whilst using the NHS services? Was this direct or indirect?

Or have you witnessed any?

Have you ever been refused a certain treatment because of a protected characteristic?

Have you always been treated with respect, dignity and compassion?

Thankyou very much!


6 Replies

I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing you are looking for...

My late sister had been born with a rare type of brittle bone disease. Towards the end of her life she was hospitalized following a severe stroke. Whilst there she developed a series of infections which resulted in an enlarged heart. She had had heart problems for a few years. She was 41. She was told that once her hospital treatment was done, she would have to go in to residential care home, where they would be equiped to deal with stroke patients. An old peoples home, basically

Despite some speech difficulties due to the stroke, my sister communicated to us and the hospital that if she had a heart attack, she did not want them to intervene.

She had a heart attack. They intervened. They broke her rib cage. Because the was young, apparently, they felt it would be wrong to let her die and that it may leave them open to litigation. She lived another week.

Lucky for the hospital, mum was to distraught to consider suing them. Mum died the following year, so the hospital basically got away with it.

I see that as a type of discrimination. The hospital knew what her wishes were. They knew that family backed her. They knew she was seriously ill. They choose to ignore all of that and cover their own back.


Hi not sure if this is what you need as my discrimination relates to weight, which appears to be an acceptable form of discrimination in this day and age.

I've had issues with my period's since they began but being on the pill for many years masked a lot of the problems. When I turned 27 I came off the pill so we could try for a baby. My period's have gone from bad to worse, as did my skin and my weight has increased year on year and I never got pregnant. After 3 years of no pregnancies I went to see my GP who referred me to a fertility clinic. Whilst I knew I wouldn't be eligible for fertility treatment, I was at least expecting some sort of investigation. When talking about my period's I said how irregular and heavy they were and she told me I need to lose weight to sort that out. I said I agreed but wanted to add that my period's have never been regular, even as a young, fairly slim and very fit dancer and swimmer. She cut me dead and said "If you lose weight your periods WILL be regular". Now, I'm pretty certain irregular periods aren't exclusive to fat women! Anyway, she said the only test she'd do on me is the HSG to see if my tubes are blocked as there was 'no point' doing anything else with my weight and hubby had his sperm test. I went for the HSG which was abandoned after 30 mins cos they couldn't find the opening of my cervix (as it's so tilted, another issue I'd already explained at the fertility clinic) to insert the tube. The next week we were back at the clinic to discuss both our test results. I explained mine was abandoned (but this didn't ring any alarm bells with her clearly) but hubby's test wasn't good and we would never conceive naturally. With that she went back on to my weight and told us to come back for IVF when my BMI is below 30. Fast forward to now, I booked a consultation with a gynaecologist privately as I'm at my wits end with my 2nd period of the year lasting over 3 months and is still going strong. After 5 mins with him, an internal scan and some blood tests I have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome. I also have a large cyst (9x8x5cm) which he says will have been there for years and it's a shame the fertility clinic didn't do these tests. I actually thanked the consultant for taking me seriously and not just telling me to go away and lose weight. He explained PCOS is a metabolic syndrome which in most women causes weight gain and makes it hard to lose weight so he knows that up until now I've not had a great deal of control over my weight. I'm now being treated with metformin which should hopefully help me gain some control and make it easier to lose weight.

My friend was also going through fertility issues at the same time as me. She has always had regular period's and was not overweight, didn't have bad skin etc yet she had her fertility fully investigated with scans, blood tests, HSG, the works.

I believe had I not been overweight, I'd have had the same level of care and my PCOS wouldn't be as severe as it is right now. I just need to hope that the laparoscopy doesn't show any damage to my ovaries, tubes or uterus caused by the big cyst that's been sitting there for who knows how long.


I'm so sorry to butt in, because this is nothing to do with me, but I've read your post and am absolutely outraged and completely gobsmacked!! I am so, so sorry you've had to go through this and I hope that your PCOS will be sorted and you'll be able to have a longed for baby.

I think you ought to make an official complaint too, if you feel strong enough to do it.

All the best.


Thanks for your kind words. Once I've had the laparoscopy and know if there's any further issues we are considering making a complaint. It's not just the physical issues that I've been left to put up with but the emotional distress caused too. I was left to feel worthless- when you can't have a baby you feel like a pointless human as it is, and I wasn't even worthy of having my health looked into just because of my size.

1 like

Never, never, never let anyone make you feel like that! You are as worthy as the next person and never forget that.

I cannot believe that a so called professional has treated you so badly, when you were already very fragile and vulnerable.

Please let us know how everything goes for you.

Very best wishes.


Always been treated with all the positive traits you mention and more. The staff are fantastic, it's the system that prevents them doing their jobs. Lack of money means too few staff, so some jobs CAN'T get done (properly.) I've unfortunately had years of hospital based experiences. Most have been positive and uplifting. One blip upset me (I can give you details privately if you wish) but not sure it relates directly to discrimination as such.


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