I think I shold change my GP?

I think I shold change my GP?

I had bronchitis in August and aggravated asthma and after the first course of antibiotics was sent for xray and blood tests and given a second course. Was told at the hospital it would be ten days for results. Inbetween time my condition worserned resulting in a trip to A&E. The staff there were excellent and told me to go directly to A&E next time as the results are instant and I can be given the correct meds without delay. I made sure I visited my GP within a week of the A&E and told her that A&E advised I should be referred to a chest clinic. Nothing happened.

On my November asthma review the nurse was sick so I saw one of the GPs. I printed off a copy of the asthma action plan to complete with her. She asked where I got it from. The attached is what she filled in and then gave it back to me and said it is for me to fill. I was on Seretide 125 and Ventolin. I am 60 years old, not senile, yet she made me feel like a naughty schoolgirl and constantly asked was I taking my meds. She then prescribed a spare emergency course of steroids and changed my preventer to Fostair in place of the Seretide without any explanation why. I have just started using the Fostair.

I still think a referral to a chest clinic would be beneficial but am now seriously thinking I need a new GP surgery.

Last thing - does anybody else have a problem getting an appointment within a day with their GP when their asthma worsens? Last time I was told a whole week. I think the receptionists at my surgery need educating on priority appointments for vulnerable people.

9 Replies

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  • Hi Chrissie49,

    I confess I am getting increasingly concerned with what I am reading about some receptionists. This is the second post in a week where an asthmatic has reported difficulties getting an quick appointment whilst having problems with their asthma.

    I admit I cannot help you on the asthma plan front; I have never had one (never heard of them until I joined the forum last year), though to be fair I suppose I've had a mental one for years (decades, in fact:-))

    If you no longer trust your GP then I would say yes, perhaps it is time to look for a new one. But alongside that comes ease of access, which you do need to consider before changing your surgery. What about the other doctors at your local surgery. Could you ask to see one them instead?

    As a rule, if I know that I am going to require a longer consultation than the usual ten minutes will allow I will ask for a double slot - which you could do if you want to go over your action plan. You might have to wait longer to get one, but a double slot would also give you more time to go over what happened at A&E and to push for the referral.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful than this, but hopefully this should give you a few ideas.

  • Thanks MaggieHP for suggesting a double appointment. The GP I am registered with is often unavailable and sometimes it's 3-4 weeks to get an appointment, and on the day I can often end up seeing a different GP. I think the best course would be to push for a referral.

  • Move gps and also write a letter to to practice manager explaining that you are moving due to poor asthma care .... It has taken many years for me to become strong enough and confident enough to start to write my concerns to medical "professionals". But since fighting for what I feel I need ..my asthma has improved so much it is amazing. That is not an asthma plan you have included that is a uneducated clueless attempt by someone who managed to scrape through a three year training programme and needs a serious re-educating! Leave this practice now! But not without a letter of complaint

  • Hi,

    I'm going through similar to you. Since Sept my Asthma has flared as a result of a persistent chest infection. I had problems getting appointments and seen a nurse who thought I only needed steroids if I could not speak in sentences . However my Peak flow had dropped by 300 and using a nebuliser. Anyway, I am still on the steroids the 7th antibiotic finally got rid of the infection. I rang fri and explained to the receptionist that the Dr had wanted to see me and I was running low on steroids. I was offered 21st Dec appt as none before! I explained that was a problem and her response was ' I don't know what to suggest' I am now considering moving too.

    Good luck!

  • I have had the same response about short sentences but also they seem obsessed about peak flow when I am clearly presenting many other symptoms. I had many months of Alexander technique lessons for a vocal nodule which enabled me to use my voice in front of a classroom of children and I still use this technique with the asthma.

    Asthma is not a 'one size fits all' or 'you did not tick all the symptoms boxes'.

    Time to start search

  • As I stated previously, the attitude of some receptionists to asthmatics is becoming increasingly worrying. I don't have this problem at my local surgery and so have been astounded, not to mention shocked, at some of the reports I have read on the forum concerning the response of receptionists when asthmatics have rung in requiring help.

    Kjt229, in your position I would have asked if the receptionist could take a message asking the doctor to contact me, and explaining why this was necessary. My surgery would do that. They might tell me that I may have to wait a few hours before I get a call back, but I am well aware that the doctor will see the message, judge how urgent it is and respond accordingly. Sometimes I will get a call back within an hour, sometimes it will take longer and sometimes, if the answer is a simple one, I will get a call from the receptionist with the answer very quickly. Sadly, I have been made aware recently that not all surgeries have this excellent system.

    It does take courage to stand up to the medical professionals and the staff who support them, but sometimes you have to do it. I learnt the hard way that it is sometimes necessary to do so when I was in my twenties (I'm now in my fifties) and a respiratory consultant decided that my asthma was mild. There were none of the tests in place then that there are now. I'd already had the condition for twenty years plus by this time and was not at all convinced that he was right but was sufficiently in awe of consultants to not argue with him. That was a mistake. I was taken off Intal Co (which was no longer as effective as it had been) and put on Becotide 50 instead. Six weeks later I was back at the GP (this was not in my current surgery) as the medication was not strong enough to completely control the asthma. He wouldn't budge from the decision made by the consultant. Things began to go downhill. To cut a long story short, eventually I ended up in hospital with pneumonia aggravated asthma, which is when the consultant got involved again. On hearing what had happened since he had last seen me he acknowledged that I needed to be on something stronger. All of this might have been avoided if I had stood up to him at the initial consultation.

    None of which answers the problem of what to do about unhelpful receptionists. I do agree with Ericthedog to an extent: it is worth complaining to the practice manager. Remember they are not psychic, so unless someone notifies them of a problem with the running of the practice, how can they be expected to know that one exists?

    Apols for the length of this. Hopefully it's of some use.

  • I am so cross that this sort of issue is STILL happening. I agree with MaggieHP.

    11puffs of a preventer inhaler twicea day when you get worse seems odd to me with no other inhaler amount suggested! Eg. Ventolin!

    The action plan should be filled in WITH your asthma nurse or GP. The idea is that they advise you and you both discuss what has worked/what you could try in the future.

    ALL the boxes should then be filled in. Make another appointment and make sure,insist,that before you leave you know EXACTLY what to do if you have an asthma attack or feel you are not controlled.

    I find it unbelievable that a GP in this country appears to not be taking asthma seriously. (And it seems to keep on happening to too many people) .

    Appointment wise ,if you are concerned you can always ask for an emergency appointment if they can offer you one a week or so away . They will have to see you then. on the same day.

    Ask for a referral to chest clinic if you are still not in control. Hopefully the Fostair is beginning to help?

    Let us know how you get on. X

  • Actually, having just taken another look at the action plan it appears the doctor concerned doesn't even know the difference between a preventer inhaler and a reliever. Since when has ventolin been a preventer inhaler?

    I'm sorry - but that is disgraceful! I certainly would be making a formal complaint to the practice manager, enclosing a copy of the action plain, and stating that unless there was a satisfactory apology I would be taking the matter further.

  • I will definitely try again to get a member of the surgery team to go over an asthma action plan with me. In the meantime I will stick with my prescribed doses and certainy not the 11 puffs - perhaps she was writing in Roman numerals?

    Hoping to avoid a winter visit to A&E.

    Keep well everyone

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