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To tell colleague she can't change her name?

(445 Posts)
Professionalminefield Mon 21-May-18 21:28:32

To summarise:

I am a GP partner, and have been at the practice I work at for over 20 years. I changed my name when I got married, but continued to practise under my maiden name, as that's what my patients know me by.

We have a relatively new partner in the practice, who has the same first name as me. (Let's say it's Lucy). She is getting married in the summer, and is planning on changing her name both personally and professionally.

The issue is that, as I found out today, her fiancé's surname is almost identical to my professional name. My surname is Townsend, her married name is Townshend.

So our practice will have a Dr Lucy Townsend and a Dr Lucy Townshend.

This is absolutely not going to work for multiple reasons:
- Many patients, especially those who don't come that regularly, struggle to remember who their GP is, or which GP they want to see. They're not going to be able to distinguish between Dr Townsend and Dr Townshend if prompted on the phone.
- We are in an ethnically diverse area with high levels of immigration. As a result, many of our receptionists (who give out some appointments) and our patients are not native English speakers and will struggle to hear the very slight difference between the names.

WIBU to tell my colleague that she can't change her name?

Professionalminefield Mon 21-May-18 21:29:04

(I mean of course, to tell her that she can't change it professionally. If she wants to personally that's fine)

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 21-May-18 21:30:00

Yes. How can you stop her?!

user1471517900 Mon 21-May-18 21:30:02

Yes of course you are.

glsgow107 Mon 21-May-18 21:30:22

You are perfectly within reason.

DitheringBlidiot Mon 21-May-18 21:30:42

YWouldn’tBU to point out what you’ve just said.

YWouldBU to tell her what she can and can’t do.

GummyGoddess Mon 21-May-18 21:31:10

I don't think you can tell her that. You can point it out to her how confusing it will be for everyone and see if she comes up with a solution?

I do think you're correct though, it would be a nightmare to deal with on a daily basis.

condepetie Mon 21-May-18 21:31:27

I mean, you need to discuss it with her.

I don't think you can tell her she is not allowed to do it. You may be older and more established, but you're not her boss.

A frank and clear discussion may help. But you absolutely cannot tell her she can't do it. It's her decision.

Professionalminefield Mon 21-May-18 21:31:32

I have been at the practice 20 years longer than her - I will be senior partner from next year after the only GP who has been here longer than me retires.

If I tell her she can't, then she can't.

MyDcAreMarvel Mon 21-May-18 21:31:33

She can do what she wants, if it bothers you then use your married name problem solved.

GalwayWayfarer Mon 21-May-18 21:31:58

Of course YABU. You have no right to intervene in what is an important personal decision for her.

Change your own name if you think it's such an issue. Or pop a nice big sign up in your reception with your names and photos and a quick bio so your patients learn to tell you apart.

Doyoumind Mon 21-May-18 21:32:01

If this is for real YA certainly NBU.

ElderflowerWaterIsDelish Mon 21-May-18 21:32:26

One of you use dr surname and the other use dr first name..or dr first name surname. Or both of you use dr first name surname ...

You can't make her change her name,

Rainboho Mon 21-May-18 21:33:05

Im glad you’re not my GP, you sound like an arse. You can’t tell people what to be called!

lindyhopy Mon 21-May-18 21:33:06

I don't think you are being unreasonable, I am surprised she even wants to do this.

GalwayWayfarer Mon 21-May-18 21:33:11

If I tell her she can't, then she can't.

^ Not true in any legal sense.

Also you sound like a horrible colleague.

HarryLovesDraco Mon 21-May-18 21:33:23

I think you should raise the issue and see how she reacts. You shouldn't tell her not to but if she insists on doing it she will cause a lot of issues and bad feelings

pasturesgreen Mon 21-May-18 21:33:23

Very reasonable. I'm surprised it hasn't occurred to her.

Professionalminefield Mon 21-May-18 21:33:31

I can't change my name now. I've been practising under my maiden name for over 20 years at the same surgery, and have had many of my patients for the entire time.

It would cause endless confusion for patients, especially elderly patients and those for whom English is not their first language (or they don't speak it at all)

TeenTimesTwo Mon 21-May-18 21:33:59

It's quite standard isn't it for doctors to carry on with their maiden name? (Especially if 2 Drs at the same place marry)?

Tell her you are sorry, but it just isn't practical, and she needs to keep her maiden name professionally until one of you leaves.

MayFayner Mon 21-May-18 21:34:15

Surely she doesn't want this either?

PandaPieForTea Mon 21-May-18 21:35:07

I think you need to ask her for a solution. You got there first, so she needs to sort it out.

HeyDolly Mon 21-May-18 21:35:17

I think your reasons are quite valid tbh.

harrietm87 Mon 21-May-18 21:35:20

At my GP the senior partner was Dr John Smith and his son was Dr James Smith, but known to all as Dr James whereas his dad was Dr Smith. I didn't even realise they were related! (I've changed the names).

Couldn't she just be Dr Lucy?

Caucho Mon 21-May-18 21:35:33

Since you seem 100% certain you’re not being unreasonable I will don’t understand what the point of the question is

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