A YOUNG Strabane mother who survived cancer once and fears it has returned, claims she has been left with no medical care after being removed from the registers of two doctors in the town.
Thirty-year-old mum of four Susan Mullen from the Head of the Town area was diagnosed with womb cancer in 2015. She was treated successfully in a specialist hospital in London and was in remission.
However she says she was taken off her original doctor’s register in May of last year after ‘having a disagreement’ with her GP.
Since then Susan says she tried to register with other local doctors but claims she was either refused or removed from their list, in the latter instance because she missed a registration appointment.
Tragically, prior to Christmas the young mother found a lump in her breast. Desperate to see a doctor, and remaining de-registered from her local surgeries, she tried to register with a practice in Castlederg, only to be told she was outside their jurisdiction and couldn’t be seen.
Now the petrified and desperate mother is pleading with authorities to step in and help her get medical help, before it’s too late.
“I have been with the Family Practice since I was a child,” she says. “I had a disagreement with my doctor one day and the next I got a letter to say I was off the practice list. I couldn’t believe it because as a cancer survivor, and as I’m in remission, I have to send bloods over to London every month for checks. I was terrified with no doctor to call on or to visit.
“I then went to register with another doctor’s surgery in the town. I brought my ID and they signed me up. Then they said I had to come to a registration appointment which I didn’t get along to and then they sent me a letter to say I was off their
“I feel like they have all turned their back on me and I have no one to look after me.
“Then at the start of December I found a lump in my breast. I was absolutely terrified that it was the cancer back. I was petrified and upset. I went to a doctor’s in Castlederg to see if a doctor there could see me. They said they couldn’t register me if I didn’t live there. I was distraught.
“I went to the hospital in Derry, but they said I couldn’t be seen there because I wasn’t referred by a doctor. I don’t know what to do. The lump has been there now for four months and is getting bigger. I have four small children, aged 10, eight, six and just two years old. I am so, so worried. My fear is that the cancer is back and I am not getting the chance to catch it early. I want someone to check me out and tell me it is OK, but I have absolutely nowhere to turn.”
A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board, who represent GPs in the North said a ‘breakdown of communication’ led to Ms Mullen being left without care.
“There was a breakdown in communication in the relationship between Susan Mullen and the Family Practice in Strabane and she was put off their practice list,” said a spokesperson.
“Ms Mullen attempted to register at Mourneside Practice but did not return with appropriate identification documents required and therefore never registered with this practice.
“In September she provided the appropriate identification documents and registered with Riverside Practice and was given a registration appointment. Ms Mullen failed to attend this appointment therefore was advised that failure to attend resulted in her removal from their list as per Practice protocol. She was advised to seek registration with another GP Practice.
“There are opportunities to register with either the Mourneside Practice or other practices within the boundary of where she lives so that she can receive treatment.”