An 84-year-old man is asking a sex change clinic to change its name so he stops getting letters from would-be patients, the Express and Echo reports. Vic Kellagher, whose house in Exeter is called ‘The Laurels’, says doctors from around the country won’t stop sending him letters with details of their patients’ intimate sexual and gender problems.
Exeter’s specialist Gender Identity Clinic is also known as ‘The Laurels’ and anyone typing that address into google is given Mr Kellagher’s address at the top of the results.
He thinks this is why busy doctors and specialists are sending him letters when they are looking to refer patients to the centre.
The Laurels clinic is run by Devon Partnership NHS Trust and provides a service to people with gender discomfort or distress across the South West.
The clinic opened two years ago and, shortly after, Mr Kellagher received the first unwanted letter. The happily married man says he is not a prude and ‘is sympathetic’ to the patients involved but would rather not read about their personal issues.
He said: “It was addressed here so I just opened it as normal and it contained very personal details about this man’s sexual problems.
“It was a bit of a shock and obviously those details were very personal and confidential. My obvious worry is that should this sort of information fall into the wrong hands then it would leave the person described open to blackmail.”
When the problem first started Mr Kellagher contacted South Devon Healthcare Trust who apologised. But when more letters arrived, the former policeman was given a batch of pre-paid letters to return to sender.
And although local health officials have realised their error, doctor and specialists from around the country including Brighton and Gloucestershire still send him personal information. “It seems the matter has been sorted out by the local health trusts who have put the word out but there seems no away of getting through to all the other doctors around the country,” Mr Kellagher said.
“It is not the postman’s fault and I know it is the responsibility of the sender to address letters correctly but I am hoping the clinic might be able to do something about its address.”
After the latest letter arrived on 5th December featuring names and detailed medical conditions, Mr Kellagher decided to speak out.
A spokesman for The Laurels said: “We are very sorry that Mr Kellagher continues to receive our post in error. We have written to him to apologise and will do everything we can to minimise the chances of it happening in the future.”