British Lung Foundation
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Getting Best Help For My Hubby

Hi all,

I'm a newbie to this forum - have only just found it after searching in desperation to help my husband!

He is 62, a COPD sufferer, had a heart attack about 18mths ago and now has stents fitted. Also has a couple of other complicating factors such a urinary catheter and sciatica making exercise difficult.

Our problem is that he has an unsympathetic GP - who makes my husband feel that he is wasting his (the GP's) time, we have been to other GPs in the practice and get the same approach. My husbands blood oxygen levels are now at 78% and don't rise much above this with his oxygen. He thinks he has an infection, his GP refuses to give him any antibiotics until he has determined where/what is causing it but hasn't carried out any tests to find out! It's is just one example of his attitude.

My hubby is now so low - he feels that no-one in the NHS actually cares and we don't know where to turn next. We need help - but just don't how to get it, should we go private? Can anyone point us in the right direction?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

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21 Replies

Welcome beanynut. why not give the BLF helpline a ring on Monday 03000 030 555 9 till 5

I am sure they will be able to help.

polly jj


I'm so sorry to hear of your plight that is awful. I would insist on tests being taken if he has a chest infection he needs anti b's fast. I would go see this dr and tell him how your hubby feels maybe taking along an other family member for support. Can you change doctors I'm not sure how it works in England. The other thing is to phone the BLF someone will be along I'm sure with the number.

I do hope this gets sorted out sooner than later it's not good for your husband and yourself it's hard enough coping with illness you don't need that kind of treatment for your dr who should be doing everything to insure your hubby stays as well and comfortable as possible.

That sounds terrible,for you both,yes Polly's advice is spot on,do get help.Some of these Docs,have a lot to answer for,thank God there are still some great ones.

Welcome to the site anyway,do hope things come better for you!

Love Wendells xx

This is outrageous beanynut but sadly not an isolated case from what we read on this forum. Here's a link to NHS Choices about complaints

but that's not going to help you in the short run. Another thing would be to contact the consultant's secretary, explain the situation and see if hubby's consultant will give him an urgent appointment.

As the others have said, the BLF helpline will be able to offer you good advice but not open til Monday now.

I do hope someone will be along here soon to give you some solid advice from first hand experience of these matters. In the meantime, best wishes to you both and hope there's some improvement very soon. Libby x

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welcome beanynut.sorry for ur problems ,shambles to say the least but not unusual,i had an ex gp the same totally disregarded my xrays last yr,noted was ok no action needed ,read hyperinflation of the lungs copd,he yust told me was fine nothing there and of I went nearly died at xmas was that ill.thanks to a locum she was brilliant got me a scan in 2days ,told ex gp wat I thought his reply was oh im sorry but ube ok,told him to retire be fore he as no patients left as im not the 1st,but hes still there ,rote to pals 7month ago waste of time no response told practise manager he laughed,got new gp now same building hes ok understands and talks to me not at me.but his nurse im not keen on,so isee gp ,take care ur not on ur own ,we have the blf nurses with us thank god ,talk with them they will giv u good sound advice

Welcome Beanynut, can only advise the same as everyone else.

Take care


Hiya Beanynut. I think Polly's idea is probably best at this stage. Give the BLF nurses a ring on Monday, 10am - 5pm. They are good at this sort of thing and very sympathetic.

Bobby xx

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Thank you so much all of you - my husband had got to the the 'what's the point stage' so reading that there are people out there who care will really cheer him up. We'll phone the BLF helpline on Monday!!

Hello Beanynut, so sorry to hear your problems ring the b.l.f. nurses on Monday that's the positive thing to do.

Welcome beanynut, I do think that calling the BLF Helpline on Monday will help. Sorry to hear about your poor husband and believe me, I do sympathise. I care for my hubby Pete who has sarcoidosis, copd (not on oxygen), osteoporosis and sciatica (TENS machine does help). Pete also had a heart attack which was stented in 2007. Do see if your husband can use a TENS machine as that may help him. I am sure you will get some great advice on Monday. Thinking of you and your hubby. xxxxxxx

Morning Beanynut, I like your husband same age, heart failure due to bronchiolitis and COPD. I am on Oxygen 24x7.

I went through a phase where it was infection after infection. My GP decided to send me to an immunologist to see what was the matter and what was the cause. It was the best decision my GP has ever made.

To cut a long story short the immunologist instead of reading my blood results over a period of six weeks he studied these results to work out the problem.

The problem is I have a rare blood condition which my blood makes little or no antibodies. The treatment is that every 3 weeks I get a Immunoglobulin replace therapy in other word a transfusion of antibodies. This is carried out every 3 weeks now for life. I will not see a real difference until about 6 months down the line. However the bright side is if it works fewer chest Infections. At the moment I am on long term antibiotics.

I go on Tuesday for my second session.

I thought that I would pass this on to you as there is another route for help for your husband. My immunologist is my star man

Take care to you both and welcome. If you are unsure please ask us as we have all been through different stages of COPD and our friends do advise and help.

Breath Easy my friends

Berwick. xxx

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Thank you Berwick - my husband gets infections all over the place not just his lungs, urinary ones from his catheter, in his teeth, he gets abscesses and all sorts - so the immunologist suggest is brilliant, thank you so much!

And thank you to everyone for the welcome and support - we don't feel quite so alone!

Can't really add anything to the responses you've had already but would like to add my welcome to you and your husband and send my best wishes to you both

Anna x

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Hi Beanynut, you've had great advice, so I'll just say welcome to the forum :) Don't let the GP fob you off. Talk to the BLF nurses, they'll point you in the right direction. But come back and moan/groan/rejoice with us, there's always someone around to listen :) Try and have a good weekend :)

Sandra x x x

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Hi Beanynut - everyone has already advised what I would have done so just to say a very warm welcome to you and your husband - best of luck in sorting it out and do come back and tell us how you got on. :) xx

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I can only echo what others have said,I do hope you manage to get the best for hubby,welcome to you both :) xx Hopefully pop in and keep us updated.and of course us fellas on here could do with another guy here to help with this unruly ladies

LOL :) :) xxx

Welcome Beanynut, sorry I did not see your post earlier.

Your husband needs better care and support than this. As suggested already perhaps give the BLF helpline a call (pollyjj has kindly included details for you) for further advice on options available to you.

From my own experiences, I would say there are several options you may want to consider:

1) Change GP Practice entirely.

2) Ask for a referral to a specialising respiratory consultant at your local hospital.

( the helpline can advise you about what you can do should the GP refuse

3) If you have a walk in clinic near you opt to use that instead of your GP

4) Join your local Breathe Easy Group for further advice and support for the both of you.

(the BLF helpline can advise you on this also or you can check web page link below)

I do hope you get some much better care for your husband soon Beanynut and good support for you both, here, at your local Breathe Easy and through the BLF helpline.

All good wishes


Thank you for the advice and welcome BC - we are going to try to move GP Practice - Bob's health is too important to risk with an uncaring doctor! I started a new job today so couldn't phone the BLF nurses but will definitely do it tomorrow!

Good for you Beanynut, I am sure you will both feel happier to have made that decision, its a good positive move forward.

All good wishes in your new job.

Here's to a better future for you both.

BC x

Barbara, the lovely BLF Nurse phoned me yesterday - she was so helpful and sympathetic!! She explained that it sounded as if the GP wasn't following the NICE guidelines for COPD care. And that my husband could have an underlying low level infection either in his lungs or bladder (from his catheter) which will need clearing properly. She suggested that he could probably do with long term 'prophylactic' antibiotics - different ones for his chest than his urinary infection.

She also felt that he should be seen by a Respiratory Specialist as soon as possible because of the deterioration in his oxygen stats.

So we are now armed with info to give to the GP. Watch this space for the next episode of The Battle Against Unhelpful Doctors!!

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