The surgery said ‘he was not a patient’ despite accompanying his teenage daughter to appointment
This is an edited version of an article first published by Nottinghamshire Live.
A humiliated father who was taking his teenage daughter to see a doctor said he was denied access to the surgery’s toilets and was left with no option but to wet himself.
Paul Burkimsher, 45, of Ilkeston, said he has been stripped of his dignity after the incident happened at The Meadows Health Centre’s GP Surgery in the Bridgeway Centre.
He said he was taking his 15-year-old daughter to her doctor’s appointment at 9.30am on Friday, February 21 when he was in desperate need of the toilet.
Mr Burkimsher, a mental health support worker, said he has a prolapsed disc in his spinal cord which means he does not have great bladder retention.
He said he asked the receptionist if he could use the toilet as the facilities were locked but was denied access because he was not a patient.
The surgery said after an initial “misunderstanding” he was offered a key – but Mr Burkimsher said this was not the case.
He told Nottinghamshire Live: “I said to the receptionist ‘is there any public toilets I can use, I am really desperate. I was asked ‘are you a patient?’
“I said ‘no’ and I was told ‘I can only use them if I am a patient.’ It is the policy of the surgery. I asked for the practice manager and thought common sense would prevail.
“But she refused to speak to her. It was bordering on human rights.”
Mr Burkimsher and his daughter went into the appointment and he remained ‘cross legged’ throughout.
Some further tests needed to be booked but he said he could no longer stay.
“They said ‘we are nearly there’ and I said ‘so am I.’
Mr Burkimsher said he was forced to race out of the surgery and wet himself in his car.
“It strips your dignity just to ask to use a toilet. It was as if I am not good enough to use one.
“If someone is coming into the practice and needs the toilet this is a genuine need. If you are identified with a patient you should be able to use the toilet.
“It’s appalling that someone can left like that and I worry for other vulnerable people like the elderly. As a GP surgery you have a duty of care to be compassionate.”
The practice manager of the health centre said the toilets do remain locked due to concerns over them potentially being used for ‘drug use’, they can only be used by patients because of this issue.
A spokesman from CityCare, which runs the centre, added: “To ensure that our facilities remain in a good condition for our patients, we have found it necessary to restrict access to the toilets.
“A key is offered to patients or anyone accompanying a patient.
“On this occasion there appears to have been a misunderstanding, and that at first we did not know that the individual was with a patient.
“When we realised this, a key was offered several times by different members of staff.”
But Mr Burkimsher insisted: “I was not offered a key by several members of staff. I was not offered access to the toilet for the 40 odd minutes I was there.
“At no point were any staff members coming forward to say they had made a mistake. I had asked six times to talk to the practice manager about this.”