Dr Graham Handley worked at the private Marcroft Hospital where in December 2021 Curtis Delamere had an appointment to try and make another attempt to have his undiagnosed and possibly terminal heart condition treated. The consultation was paid for by Steve McDonald out of his savings as Curtis was the fiancé of his daughter, Emma Brooker, who had begged him to help when other doctors had been unable to prescribe a cure.
What Steve and Emma didn't know was that Curtis was actually suffering a factitious mental disorder which caused him to insist that he had an illness when the reality was that there was nothing wrong with him. Expecting an appointment with Dr Laurencia, Curtis was therefore perturbed to be told by the receptionist that he had had to make his apologies to deal with an urgent matter, and his appointment had been changed to his Dr Handley instead, who knew full well his case history and suspected the real truth about what was wrong with the student.
Dr Handley reiterated his previous statements that there was nothing they could do for him, and his heart was in A1 condition as a huge number of ECGs, echos and cardiac MRU scans over the years amply demonstrated. He repeated his suspicions of a factitious mental disorder and wanted to refer him to a psychologist, but Curtis told him he was a waste of time and walked out of his office. Once back in reception, he lied to Emma that he had been told his condition was serious and he was being sent for further tests and a consultation with a top specialist.
Just over a week later, Dr Handley rang up Curtis chasing him about seeing a psychologist. His patient was angry about the call but had to hide his displeasure after Emma entered the flat and pretend that it was a call from the hospital about making an appointment for his next consultation.
When Ruby Dobbs took one of Curtis's supposed heart pills, and another doctor proved they were nothing but vitamin pills, a questioning Emma visited Dr Handley seeking answers and told him that Curtis had now informed her that he was taking a holistic route to his treatment and that his kidneys were now packing up. Citing patient confidentiality, Dr Newland told Emma he was unable to assist and only Curtis was the one she needed to speak to.
The following month, Tim Metcalfe was another of his patients, this time at Weatherfield General. In March 2019 he had suffered a minor heart attack and now, feeling a shortness of breath, he had an appointment with GP Dr Gaddas who referred him to Dr Handley. Tim was booked in for an angiogram and, fearing the worst, he couldn't bring himself to tell wife Sally and attended the next consultation for the result with nursing neighbour Aggie Bailey. There, he was knocked back to be told that his arteries were blocked with fatty deposits and required a triple bypass. Tim was in denial about his condition, pointing out the lifestyle changes he had undertaken during the past two years. Dr Handley assured him that if he hadn't done so, he might have suffered a fatal attack, but Tim was in no mood to listen and walked out.
Aggie persuaded him to return a few days later where Dr Handley talked him through the procedure but was shocked to hear that it would take between three to six hours with a three-month recovery time. Although slightly more accepting of the situation, Tim still struggled to accept the enormity of the situation he was in and couldn't even bring himself to tell Sally what was happening to him. Aggie was on hand as Handley again saw Tim for his pre-operation appointment but events sped up even faster when Tim suffered an acute angina attack within hours, followed swiftly by the bypass.
Tim found his recuperation period frustrating, not so much as he was under orders to avoid strenuous activity, but mainly because this included any sexual activity. Desperate to resume their extremely active love-life, Tim and Sally had a facetime consultation with Dr Handley on the day that the recovery period ended, when they tried to ascertain if they could resume, but found he found himself tongue-tied when trying to ask the question until Sally blurted out the enquiry. Receiving a positive answer, Tim gasped out his thanks and slammed the laptop screen down, eager to lose no time at all, until the sudden arrival of his mother Elaine Jones put a stop to the couple's plans once more.
- Credited as "Dr Handley", the character's forename was given in dialogue in Episode 10528 (4th January 2022).
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