What to do about awful GP?

Seriously, what can I do about this?

I went to see a gp last weekend and made the mistake of classifying myself as a binge drinker (I tend to get through a bottle or two at most of red on a Friday night)

When i mentioned to my family / friends that i was going to see a gp for help they were all delighted "about time", and "thank god you finally done something" were the word's i kept hearing, my boss has told me to take some time off as he is concerned about my mental state, but the advice from the gp was essentially to go for a load of blood test's, and that it was all caused by my drinking.

Why is there a stigma within the NHS where if you have more than a glass of wine or solitary bottle of beer you are a problem drinker?

Can i go above said gp? I want to call up some form of therapist and have a chat and get the ball rolling from there. DO i have to be referred or can i do it off my own back?

Im in Hertfordshire if that makes any difference?



6 Replies

  • Hello

    Generally blood tests may be taken to check for damage to liver, kidneys. this is basically standard procedure.


    When I go and see my GP or Specialist they realize that because of the medications I take that it is advisable that blood test too check liver, kidneys and a blood count etc.

    Generally painless it only takes a couple of mins and you will get the results back in about a week.

    So nothing to worry about this will be standard procedure, if you were to change your GP the new GP would do the same tests as a matter of course

    All the best


  • As Bob says - the blood tests are a good precaution - they can show up things that lead to/make depression worse but are relatively easy to treat (eg a B12 deficiency which can make my own depression a lot worse if I don't get regular shots).

    If the drinking doesn't have anything to do with how you are feeling then the blood tests will also show that ... so I think it is a bit too early to make a complaint about the treatment from the GP - though at the end of the day you do have that right.

    There are lots of counsellors around and you can arrange for private counselling - and I'm sure other people will be able to advise you on self-referal for NHS treatments, though I think that other health professions would expect some GP involvement at some point.

  • Hi

    A number of things come to mind. Firstly you say you described yourself as a binge drinker which suggests you think you drink too much at times. I wonder why you drink so much. Clearly either your drinking is affecting your behaviour or your behaviour is the result of you dealing with difficult feelings of some kind and that is making you turn to drink - it could be either way around.

    You say your family and friends say about time which suggests either they are concerned about your health in general or mental health in particular or that they are negatively affected by your behaviour - do you know which it is?

    You also say your boss has suggested you take time off which suggests again that either he is concerned for you about your health or that he is concerned about your ability to do the job or perhaps some other aspect such as behaving in a difficult way. Again I wonder what you think is going on there?

    You do not say whether you are happy and I am wondering whether you have any close intimate relationships where you are able to share with the person how you are feeling on a day to day basis.

    Drinking a lot in one go will undoubtedly be affecting your health and I would think the GP is concerned to ensure any damage to your liver and bloods in general is picked up, however the fact that he didn't ask why you were drinking so much or about other aspects of your life suggests he perhaps thought you wouldn't take kindly to that.

    You say you would like to talk with a therapist - you can find a qualified therapist by contacting UKCP or BACP, both can be found through google and there will be quite a number within reach of Hertfordshire.

    People who turn to drink when under stress often acknowledge their drinking but still find it difficult to accept the extent of their problem and it may be that you do that. The fact that your boss is concerned about your mental state suggests you are at the very least over-sensitive when interacting with other people and that suggests you are finding things difficult and do need to talk with someone about what is making you turn to drink.


  • Hi D,

    Firstly, I don't think anyone can tell - from what you've written - that you're 'over-sensitive'. Your boss's reaction only suggests that you were visibly distressed.

    Your doctor's advice actually sounds too brief and superficial to me. I work in the mental health field and have heard a lot of stories about GPs who do not listen properly to their patients. If you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression then the symptoms will have been worsened by the amount you drink ('harmful' - in medical terms - and possibly 'dependent') but you may well have used alcohol to help you deal with those thoughts & emotions in the first place, so your problems may not have been 'caused' by your consumption.

    You can arrange to be treated by a private therapist without a referral from a GP or other worker, and there may also be some free counsellors/CBT workers (employed by not-for-profit organisations) in your county who you can refer yourself to. Google searches and phone calls to local mental health charities will turn up some of these options. Otherwise, you can ask to be seen by another GP at your surgery - and perhaps ask for a clear explanation as to why therapy wasn't offered in the first place.

  • Hi

    I have,n't read anything you have said that suggest's, you have an awful GP, the tests he requires are quite normal to check if your organs are performing correctly. Also you have,n't said if you are taking any medication, if so, blood tests are often used to determine if the drugs, are at the correct levels in the bloods.

    With regards to your drinking, did your GP actually say he thought your drinking required you have these tests, normally if they consider you are drinking too much, they will have a liver function test to establish if it has it has suffered any damage. You say you drink between 1 or 2 bottles of red wine, one night a week,, but I very much doubt you have been affected, by this in any way

    In my instance, I suffer from a extremely painful spinal problem ( I'm having an operation next month) and because of the pain and depression, I tend to drink about 3 to 4 cans of lager per night, so I don't know "or care" at the moment what classification they would put me in regarding my drinking, but I'm sure they would say, cut down straight away.

    However by way of reassurance to you a month ago, I had as part of my Diabetes review, I had all the blood tests necessary and to my surprise, and my GP's delight, they were all perfect. So try not to worry.

    If your boss (he seems very considerate) has told you to take some time off, and your friends are telling you their glad to see you are seeking treatment, perhaps your anxiety or depression are starting to show. My advice would be to see your GP, and be as frank as possible, answer all her questions truthfully, and ask for her advice as to what treatment she would suggest is best for you, or would she refer you to a specialist. If you are not happy with her replies, then consider changing your GP and explore seeing a therapist privately. I'm sorry if this reply is so long winded but I'm very concerned that you seem to think you are on your own. Remember there's lots of help for you,. it's just finding it.and please dont forget all your friends on this forum are all ready to listen to you, anytime.


  • Jamie .. Happy New Year to you and your family. Hope we all

    Find peace and contentment.


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