Who do I need to complain to about a GP practice refusing to prescribe me the correct medication?

So I am Type II Brittle Asthmatic and my asthma has always been quite difficult to manage and as a result I am on quite a strong regiment of medication.

Anyway, 6 years ago I had probably one of my worst attacks in recent years where I was hospitalised for nearly a week, I was 17 and from what I remembered one of my lungs was hit by a chest infection and the other was struggling to managed with the extra work load.

After that attack the hospital seemed to want to take the tactic of avoiding having me in hospital with asthma attacks again. Generally I will have one to two asthma attacks per year and so the hospital's idea was to give me the tools I need to treat an asthma attack from home.

I was told I was to have an emergency supply of prednisolone at home at all times and if I were to have an asthma attack that was severe enough, to take a full blue inhaler before ringing 999. And by full blue inhaler, they meant a brand new full to the brim one and empty it.

Along with that I also have my preventer, the most powerful dose of Symbicort, 3 times in the evening, 3 times in the morning.

Anyway, at first I had GPs who were very good about this but I had to move practices eventually and they got really stingy. 1 blue inhaler per month, they outright refused to prescribe the prednisolone. It really did get stupid when the GP added my preventer to being also used doubly as a reliever if the blue wasn't adequate. Great plan in principle however they expected me to do this with one Symbicort per month. It barely lasts on such a high dose as a preventer. Let alone doubling as a reliever.

The result was my asthma ended up getting really bad and I felt I had nowhere to turn as the GP seemed to try and put the blame on me. I saw several doctors in the practice and they all just acted like it was my fault my asthma was so bad when in fact I wasn't getting the medication in line with what the hospital had advised during my last attack which lead to future hospitalisations.

I eventually switched to my university GP who seemed extremely appalled with my previous GP practice and have since made sure I get 2 ventolins per month (if need be, that way I have one spare for an asthma attack), have started prescribing my emergency supply of prednisolone as and when needed which they monitor when it has ran out (asking why, etc), they also prescribe me two preventers each month too so I have one that can double up as a reliever.

As a result I have seen improvement in my asthma and have managed to handle my asthma without hospitalisation. I just feel appalled that my previous GP practice put my asthma at risk though by not following the care plan the hospital put in place.

Who can I complain to regarding this as I would like to make sure this doesn't happen in the future to other asthmatics accessing this same GP practice?

19 Replies

  • Sorry you've had a rubbish experience and I'm glad you seem to have got back on track with your latest gp. I would think PALS would be your first point of call with a complaint, they should help you through the complaints procedure. Good luck!

  • On your NHS card it tells you who to complain to I do believe.

  • Firstly complain to the GP and ask about their complaint procedures, only then continue on to PALS and any other route.

    Here is a link to NHS about PALS:-


  • A whole ventolin inhaler sounds very extreme! Surely a nebuliser would be far more practical?

  • The idea is to avoid me having hospital care, including the nebuliser.

  • I have a nebuliser at home, I've been told that one use of a 2.5 neb is the same as having 10 puffs of Ventolin through a spacer. Far more convenient to have a nebuliser.

  • In hospital lately they give me the nebuliser on route and then in hospital use 100 puffs of salbutamol to bring my breathing back to normal. So they just seem to be removing the nebuliser from the mix.

  • Wud think after using blue inhaler for 5 minutes if no improvement i wud call an ambulance. Dont wait seek help.

  • Asthma is a complicated disease to control. Ventolin\salbutamol affects your Heart particularly if you use too much.i am wondering if the GPs were concerned you were relying too much on the ventolin, and not using your preventers to control your Asthma. Can I suggest you read the NICE National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines before you do anything. I have Severe Asthma and so far have had seven infections this year. I was given an antibiotic as a child which pitted the enamel on my teeth, so lost my teeth at an early age. I am alive though, because of the meds the NHS provide. I could not afford to pay for the meds or treatment if there was no NHS.

  • Brittle Asthma is one of the severe asthmas and by its very nature Brittle Asthma is difficult to manage. My GP didn't seem to have a good grasp over what Brittle Asthma is though.

    And regardless of the GPs concerns they wer acting against a treatment plan put in place by the Specialists.

  • Where are you based on the country

  • England

  • hi

    my son had a near fatal asthma attack back in may and although staff very good. there is a huge variation in appropriate treatment, guidelines, and that of a personalised asthma plan. especially brittle asthmatics you should (as per guidelines) NEVER leave hospital without having a personalised up to date plan, don't get fobbed of with just a stepwise medicine plan. your plan is yours and go has no right to refuse medication, that's again disability human rights, against nice guidelines- they clearly like so many need educating.

    indeed first of all contact them for a copy of their complaints procedure. this needs reporting to gmc, cdc and nhs england.

    withholding medication is unlawful. i would even query the full use of inhaler, we did with son actually three of them as ambo was delayed(another story), certainly not as first emergency treatment. you need home nebuliser, at least 4 relieve inhalers,..(no preventer

    will not help in those circumstances) as soon as you have made no improvements after a few minutes of 10 puffs, 30 secs-1min apart, get onto 999 and stick neb on...you are not wasting anyone's time...you will be time critical and stuff anyone w

    ho says different.

    ring asthma uk- they are fantastic

    hope you get it sorted asap


  • I would not bother with a complaint. Focus on getting your asthma resolved. Personally all GP's will only prescribe from a hospital consultant. Hence the pecking order in medicine. I would just take the balls to this and get a referral to a top lung hospitalk like the Brompton in London and gethe checked out with a full MOT of tests. I have severe asthma and COPD but I never smoked but when I took control of my medication and life I demanded a referral to Brompton as my asthma was brital and everyday occurring. It had to be resolved. It now is but I still have symptoms buthat they are controlled.

    Take control. Demand a referral. Forget complaining to a GP but get them to refer you to a lung hospital.

  • The care plan I have in place was from a hospital consultant. My old GP refused to listen to the hospital. That is my point, they were ignoring the care plan a specialist had given me.

  • Was he a lung specialist? Or a consultant in a and e ?

  • This was a lung specialist I was under, one of the best in the country in fact. Been my respiratory doctor since I was a child.

  • Not being too rude on this. But if this guy is a lung specialist and leaves you like this then I would move for a second opinion at another hospital. If the GP is not following the exact advice of the consultant in terms of prescribed drugs and frequency then you can complain to the consultant who can right a strong letter back to the GP surgery with the drugs, dosage and frequency and when it will be renewed and the consultant can demand this. If the GP then refuses then you can sue and report the GP to the BMC to have them removed.

  • You should be able to make a formal complaint to the practice manager and you should also be able to ask them for a copy of their complaints procedure.

    If you still don't receive an adequate response have a look at the NHS England website as that should be able to explain who to escalate your complaint to.

    hope you get sorted.

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