Multiple mis-diagnosed cancer cases revealed following Banbury Guardian report

A dozen cases of misdiagnosis of cancer have been reported to the Banbury Guardian following a story of a lymphoma victim who said she was 'fobbed off' with vitamins by a Banbury surgery.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:20 pm
South Bar House where Horsefair Surgery is based

The woman told of her diagnosis being delayed by Horsefair Surgery in last week's paper after being given vitamin D pills for symptoms that turned out to be a cancer in the lymphatic system. The surgery was unable to comment on her complaint until an investigation is complete.

Her story caused a huge response on social media when dozens of Banburyshire patients complained of being unable to see a GP, losing the ability to form a relationship with a family doctor, difficulty getting appointments and not getting the right tests and treatment.

A dozen cases of cancers that were initially diagnosed as minor ailments came to light.

A number of people recounted distressing stories of relatives who had been told they had coughs, or aches and pains who later died of cancers that were discovered too late to be treated. Not all were Horsefair patients.

One said her mother had been put on antidepressants for fatigue but was diagnosed six months later with late-stage bowel cancer. Another who was eventually diagnosed with bowel cancer had been told she had torn a muscle. More than one who had bowel cancer had been told they had piles.

A fifth patient who had bowel cancer had been told they had irritable bowel syndrome. Yet another had made repeated visits to the surgery and finally cancer was diagnosed but by this time it had spread to other organs.

One resident's mother was given the same diagnosis of a vitamin deficiency but had ovarian cancer from which she subsequently died and others who had coughs and in one case a hoarse voice, were suffering from cancers which were missed initially. One had returned to the surgery four times in a year with the cough but tests were not ordered. Another said her mother had been 'fobbed off' for months before her lung cancer had been suspected and diagnosed.

"It was too late. Something needs to be done," the person said.

One correspondent lamented the changes in the GP and patient relationship. "If you do manage to see a doctor, the chances are you wont see the same one again.

"(In the old days) when you saw your own doctor, you built up a relationship with them so they would know your history without even looking at the screen. If someone had gone to see them about gout for instance they would also know if you suffered with depression in the past and would ask how you were doing. They knew all about you and your family. You actually believed they cared about you and you also had faith in them too."

Another contributor said: "How can you feel confident and have trust in someone when its a conveyor belt of staff coming in and out of the place?"

Some patients said they no longer knew who their GP was and that because nurses are unable to perform certain procedures they were resorting to going to the Horton's A&E. Some other conditions were also misdiagnosed, including a serious kidney complaint and a case of tuberculosis.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group declined to address the issues of current pressures on GP surgeries, or comment on the issue of misdiagnosis but they did offer a link with advice on how to make a complaint about a GP or a hospital - see here.