I trained as a GP and worked as one for 20 years before retraining as an associate specialist in the young people's specialist Chronic Fatigue/ME service at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Fountation trust in Bath (the Mineral Hopsital). We work as a team of doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, support staff and managers under the leadership of Dr Esther Crawley. I also work as a health writer for Reveal magazine, the Times and the Daily Telegraph, an investigative journalist on health matters for Private Eye magazine, under the pseudonym MD, a broadcaster for BBC Radio Bristol and an occasional TV presenter (e.g. Long Live Britain, BBC1, Countdown Channel 4) . I also work as stand up comedian (but always protect patient confidentiality). I am a longstanding campaigner for compassion, safety and transparency in the NHS, a Vice President of the Patients’ Association and a patron of Meningitis UK, the Doctors’ Support Network, the Herpes Viruses Association, Patients First and Kissing It Better. Details of my work outside medicine are available at www.drphilhammond.com
My daughter (aged 16) had an appointment in February 2014 with Dr Hammond. She had been suffering from ME for quite some time but had not yet been diagnosed. I myself (mum) was diagnosed with ME in June 2013 so we knew that was what she had as her symptoms were very much the same. As you can imagine, she was very nervous and anxious about the appointment - she is doing her GCSE's at the moment and struggling, so to get the help she needs at school a lot was riding on her being diagnosed. From the minute we walked into the hospital, the staff were friendly and polite. As for Dr Hammond, he was brilliant. He was warm and friendly and put us all at ease straight away. He confirmed that she does have ME and the way he explained the condition made a lot more sense than when I was diagnosed! He gave our daughter lots of information to take away with her, leaflets on rest, diet, pacing etc and on-line groups where she could chat to people of the same age suffering the same illness (which she is finding a great comfort). I think what helped her most of all though, was that Dr Hammond really listened to her and he didn't make her feel like a silly little girl. She has also now been given the help she needs at school to get her through her exams, which is a load off for all of us. Thank you Dr Hammond for making what is a very difficult time, that much easier, we are very grateful.
This meeting was a turning point for me, he gave me the best advice possible for my recovery. I am an CFS/M.E sufferer, he has given me great hope about my future. Thanks!
The length of the appointment was just right - giving enough time to cover all aspects, from both parties. The Doctor really listened, which helped to identify a plan for the future. Both patient and parent were taken into consideration. Thank you.