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to be annoyed with Virgin Active

(17 Posts)
minimumeffort Wed 24-Apr-13 08:15:41

Dh has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and has been advised by both his specialist nurse and gp that it is now ok for him to resume exercise. Being aware of the fact regular exercise can help to delay the problems diabetes can cause he decided to join our local Virgin Active. The gym was happy to sign him up and take payment for membership but said they would need a doctors note confirming fitness to exercise after he disclosed his diagnosis. We thought at the time that this must be standard amongst gyms and wouldn't be a problem but our gp's pa has since told us that it is not policy to issue such notes and I believe this is supported by gmc guidelines. Dh's nurse kindly offered to call but said she couldn't put anything in writing.

After explaining this to Virgin they are refusing to budge (a call is not good enough) and we are stuck in a catch 22 situation. We have also not been offered a refund despite requesting one if they will not let dh use their facilities. So, are they bu or am I?

Prawntoast Wed 24-Apr-13 08:17:36

Hmm, our GP's will issue such notes- but you have to pay for them.

minimumeffort Wed 24-Apr-13 08:24:52

Our gp won't issue them at all so I suppose our only option would be to find a private gp but I'm not sure how much that would cost.

littlecrocodile Wed 24-Apr-13 09:33:59

Does he receive his diabetes care through his GP or a diabetes centre at the hospital? I'm type 1 and my GP will never issue notes but the specialist nurses at the hospital are usually happy to do so for free. (Not sure if the nurse you refer to is at GPs or a DSN). If not, it may be worth a call to Diabetes UK's careline, they may be able to issue something genetic which may tick the boxes Virgin Active need.

Having been type 1 for ten years now I tend to just not declare it on forms for things like this. Really not advisable at all but just like to avoid all the hoops you have to jump through.

TSSDNCOP Wed 24-Apr-13 09:40:15

What does VA need the letter for? Is it because of insurance or some such?

TBH if DH still wants to use the gym I'd just go right on ahead and do it letter or not.

minimumeffort Wed 24-Apr-13 11:04:23

Not sure why they need the letter. I have spoken to diabetes UK and they think the gp is being unreasonable rather than the gym. Have begged the receptionist and secretary and offered to pay but they seem to take pleasure in saying no so it looks like the gym isn't going to happen. It's a silly thing to get upset about but dh was really looking forward to trying to make something positive out of his diagnosis and it is just so annoying.

LippiPongstocking Wed 24-Apr-13 12:54:12

It really is your GP being unreasonable, Virgin Active are just trying to protect themselves, which is understandable in the circumstances - it'll be for insurance, diabetes causes all kinds of problems with insurance, sadly.

Can you not ask to see another doctor at the practice?

TheChaoGoesMu Wed 24-Apr-13 13:20:50

Write to Richard and complain. Say you want your refund as gym aren't allowing dh access. They shouldn't have taken the money until he got the medical all clear.

TSSDNCOP Wed 24-Apr-13 13:23:34

What about if you take a letter in that you've typed yourself and just get them to sign it.

You could type:

To whom it may concern,

Confirm there is no reason that Mr Minimum's type 1 diabetes should prevent him using a gym.

Doctor that doesn't want nice, fit patients when obese ones will do X

ItsYonliMe Wed 24-Apr-13 13:28:52

As soon as you tell a third party of some medical issue it can escalate. Don't tell anyone you don't need to - and there's no need to tell a gym.

I remember having a job interview (ok it was a few years ago) and I was asked if I took any medication!

As I wanted the job, I bit my lip and said "no".

VirginActiveUK Thu 25-Apr-13 15:34:48

Hi there I just wanted to let you know tha Virgin Active will definitely cover the cost of a doctors letter up to £30 and we’ll also refund DH if they do decide not to go ahead with their membership. We do ask for a doctor's note to make sure in cases like this that are members are able to exercise safely in our clubs and not putting themselves at risk as well as of course protecting ourselves as mentioned by a few others. For more info or to get more detail around this you can call our customer service team on 0207 717 9000 or email Heather@VAUK

TSSDNCOP Thu 25-Apr-13 21:07:24

Can't ask for a better response than that OP.

traintracks Thu 25-Apr-13 23:33:02

The reason that GPs don't like doing these letters is that the gyms ask for them to protect them against future litigation. If your husband, say, had a heart attack at the the gym and tried to sue, they might well use the letter to deflect the lawsuit onto the GP. It is a significant document you are asking your GP to produce, which may open him or her up to future legal action so it isn't a five minute thing, and is not an NHS service.

foreverondiet Thu 25-Apr-13 23:50:25

Really? At my va gym there is an anorexic women who pounds away on treadmill for an hour at a time. I have commented to staff that its not safe - but they said its fine as they have a letter from her gp on file. Just get the letter from your gp.

traintracks Fri 26-Apr-13 00:11:24

My point exactly. If something bad happens to her and there is litigation pending they will try to use the letter to divert the lawsuit.

ItsYonliMe Fri 26-Apr-13 05:09:28

We are getting more and more like America every day with all this talk of "litigation" <<shudders>>

Nittynana Fri 26-Apr-13 05:27:21

I am HIV+ and would not dream of telling the gym.

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