This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Practice staff 'very upset' over claims they deregistered patient due to Twitter 'tw*t' remark

A GP practice says its staff are ‘very upset’ after finding themselves in the midst of a media storm following claims they removed a patient from their practice list for posting an ‘offensive tweet’.

Staff at the Stanwell Surgery in Penarth, Wales, spoke to Pulse after a patient spoke to national newspapers complaining that he was unfairly deregistered without any warning.

Mr Mat Cochrane said he was de-listed after he posted a message on social networking website Twitter describing the practice staff as ‘incompetent tw**s’.

But the practice says they have a ‘zero tolerance’ to abusive behaviour’ and would do ‘everything possible’ to protect staff, patients and visitors from unacceptable behaviour.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Cochrane revealed a picture of the letter he received from the practice, which said he would be de-listed from the practice based on the offensive tweet, effective within just eight days.


Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Cochrane said he had initially posted the message after a heated telephone call with practice reception staff who told him he would have to wait three weeks to see a doctor. When he asked to speak to management to make a complaint, he was told they were busy and he should write to them instead.

But, speaking to Pulse, Stanwell Surgery practice manager Siân Pugh said no patient has to wait for three weeks for an appointment at the surgery and that staff members at the surgery ‘are very upset’ as a result of the allegations in the national media.

She declined to make any further comments on the specific instance due to patient confidentiality, but referred to a statement posted on the practice website that says: ‘The practice is following up options for a new telephone system which will include recording all calls made to and from the surgery.

‘The practice re-affirms its commitment to do everything possible to protect staff, patients and visitors from unacceptable behaviour and their zero tolerance of any incident that causes hurt, alarm, damage or distress.’

Related articles

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, medicolegal adviser at the Medical Protection Society, said she could not comment on this case, but that a patient should only be immediately removed from a practice list without their agreement in ‘extreme circumstances’.

She advised: ‘It would be expected that the practice would normally only seek to remove a patient from the list if an official warning had been given within the previous 12 months and behaviour or circumstance which led to that warning had been repeated.’

‘A patient is able to express their dissatisfaction about a practice and that may be using a public forum, however if a practice became aware of it they should invite the patient to discuss their concerns and to try to facilitate a resolution as objectively as possible.’



Related images

  • twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Readers' comments (31)

  • We write to patients after abuse or intimidation and always threaten removal if ANY more bad behaviour occurs. This almost always works. If not then off they go with NO redress, having given them their one chance as per various guidelines. After receiving one of our letters one patient raised his voice when speaking to our manager. That was it - off he went - result!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The bottom line is that the population has become spoilt by receiving "free at point of delivery".Make them pay the market rate for healthcare and then see what happens.They'll shut up pretty soon.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Quite right anonymous 8.20 am

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Abusive patients who expect to get what they want when they want it is an increasing issue for practices. The government needs to realise that their 'choice' agenda is not compatible with a £25bn cut in NHS funding.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • limelight seeking. If you're not happy go somewhere else or pay for it

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated

  • The claims by Jeremy Hunt that we are "coasting" in the NHS will be a further source of support for any public perception that we do not care about delivering a service that suits patients - we do, but sadly there is an increasing mismatch between what is expected of us and what is feasible. Rates of complaints are escalating across Europe, a trend that is likely to continue. Support from our Health Secretary, rather than ill-informed public criticism might help.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree that the behaviour of this chap was a little off, shall we say. I do think its a little extreme to strike him off completely, especially if this was his first offence. Perhaps a different approach should have been used.

    I do know that it can be very frustrating when you are told that appointments are being made for several weeks in advance. If this chap had a moderate to severe health condition then he should have been seen sooner rather than later. As I said, a different approach to this individuals case should have been used.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Trying to put forward a different slant on this from the patients perspective seems to be blocked ????

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Think about this from the patients perspective - serious long term life shortening condition, most likely very well informed and taking responsibility for complex self care, used to communicating with experts from a position of partnersip in care - and then told to make an appointment with the GP (which could herald serious health changes that should be dealt with immediately) and be fobbed off with a 3 week wait.....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • And the solution to that problem is to publicly (and offensively) abuse the staff of the practice by referring to female genitalia?

    NB there are also reports that the C***S word was also used (allegedly) in intervening tweets (now deleted). Additionally, the practice has disputed the notion of a 3 week wait.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say