Reply to GP Appointment Crisis

I think there is far more that is wrong with our GP practices than the examples given here, it is an over simplification that solely blames the patient. GP's should begin by looking at themselves. Most GP's I have met are arrogant, lazy or both and some, clueless. I'll give you just two of many examples.

My Dad suffered for many years with emphysema and since childhood had been profoundly deaf. Just before Easter 1979 he became very ill. Because of his deafness and the fact he couldn't walk more than a few yards, my brother drove him to the Doctors. The Doctor, said to my brother, “there's nothing wrong with him, take him for a good walk”. We knew he was very ill and we paid to see a Doctor privately. He was found to be seriously ill and rushed into hospital. Less than two weeks later on Easter Sunday he died, aged 63. No doubt, our GP had my Dad marked as, a time waster, a malingerer.

In 2004 my Mum, aged 88, became ill with a chest infection. Over the space of three weeks, she slowly deteriorated. She was seen by her own GP and several emergency Doctors. Each saying in turn, stop taking those pills, I'll write a new prescription. On the 3rd August, her own GP visited, to take a blood sample, but couldn't manage it. “I'll come back tomorrow, don't worry Mary, keep taking the pills”. He left with a reassuring smile. On the 4th he arrived around 1:30pm. He managed to take a blood sample this time and promised to rush the results through, “I'll have the results by 9am tomorrow” he said. “Keep taking the pills, Mary, must go, I'm late for my lunch”. Same reassuring smile.

A few hours later, my Mum looked dreadful. I said, I'm not calling another damned Doctor, I'm calling an ambulance. The paramedics took one look at her. No examination, no questions, just straight into the ambulance. On the way to the hospital a paramedic filled out a form and asked, “when did she last see a doctor”? I told him. He asked, “and he left her like this”?. I replied, she wasn't a great deal better. He shook his head and said, “typical”.

In A& E, she was treated by a young Doctor, no older than 27 or so. Within 15 minutes the young Doctor came to me and said, “your mother has all the classic signs of pneumonia, she is very poorly”. She asked. “Is it right, she's seen a Doctor this afternoon”? I will never forget her look of bewilderment, and I swear, I saw a tear in her eye. My Mum was quickly transferred to a side ward. A senior Doctor and his sidekick were waiting. They too, asked about her GP's afternoon visit. They looked at each other, the sidekick shook her head briefly, until she remembered my presence. Within ten minutes, my lovely Mum, died.

The following day I booked an appointment with my Mum's GP, the only available time being 4:30 pm.“Ah, Stephen, you'll be after your Mother's results”, he said, looking at his computer. “I'm sorry, they're not here, I'll get them back by tomorrow”. I told him, there was now, no point. He asked what she had died of, I told him. He said, “I thought it was something like that”. I said, when you left yesterday, to enjoy your lunch, you left an 88 year old women to die. With that I left. I had to get out before I buried my fist in his smug face. And if I had thumped him, it would have been a free hit. To report it would be to admit his own incompetence. But then after all, my Mum brought me up to be bigger than that, and I am.

Did my family report this Doctor? No. My Mum, was a lovely, lovely women. We all agreed that she would not have wanted it. She hated fuss.

Did the hospital Doctor's report their colleague? Not a bloody chance.

When I read yesterday's post of Doctor's criticising patients. I got annoyed and angry at their arrogance. Before Doctor's even think of criticising patients. They must learn to openly criticise themselves. In any walk of life, no individual or organisation can hope to improve or survive without self criticism. Self criticism is the only way to improvement. Self criticism is the only mantra that can save the NHS.

One of the Doctor's in yesterday's post referred to a grinning suicide man.

Just before Christmas, a blue lit ambulance stopped outside my window. I'm not naturally inquisitive and other than hoping it was not too serious for whoever was involved, I forgot about it. A couple of day's later I bumped into a neighbour, I'll call him, Eric. “Hi Eric”, I said,“how you doin'”. Eric says, “did you see the ambulance the other night”. It was for me”. I tried to commit suicide”. Bloody hell, Eric why? You're the one around here who's always smiling and laughing, why, mate? Eric said, “I just want to die”. What struck me was, Eric was grinning. Eric, was grinning because of embarrassment, he was ashamed. I don't believe Eric wants to kill himself. Since Christmas, Eric has tried a few more times. This isn't a cry for help, this is a full blooded scream. Does he get any help? Does he bloody hell. I fear, one day soon, a grinning Eric, will succeed.

54 Replies

  • Interesting comments.

    I moved in August and still drive miles to see my gp. I KNOW that eventually I will have to change Gp but am scared! I have excellent gp who has no idea I have moved and even though have had recommendations from people am still worried. My GP has been there for me over several difficult times and I trust her! It was her that diagnosed me with COPD. And she sees me every 2-3 weeks on a rolling appointment. Not many get that sort of care.

  • You're right, there. How far do you have to travel?

  • I travel 20 miles and leave the house 2 1/2 hours before appointment to ensure I don't get stuck in traffic! Is a pain but I take a book and stop at a large supermarket on the way for something to do!!

    Other issue is that as well as being scared of changing GP I also haven't had a period of reasonable health since I moved - having tests for other issues. Sensibly will have to change GP but want a period of wellness (as well as I can be) to change over!!

  • I don't blame you.

  • Your dilemma is the same as mine was. Although the distance to travel was less, I can't drive or walk.

    The crunch came when I became too ill to leave home but not enough to be in hospital.

    If you need a home visit you will have to change GP

  • I agree there are problems other than patients. Our surgery are advertising for more patients yet have so many problems processing repeat prescriptions, meaning several trips to get things right I emailed a complaint about making 6 trips before getting some Betnovate ointment for my husband as requested by a dermatologist. A young receptionist tried to help but made it worse by saying the Betnovate was included in another item he had been prescribed. I mentioned this in my complaint which was about 6 months ago. Did not get the courtesy of a reply. My email was not done in an aggressive manner,just to make them aware that a member of staff was stepping over the mark commenting on things she was not qualified to do. Joyce

  • I think it would be best to send any complaints to the practice manager via recorded mail. I hope you got it resolved in the end.

  • The ''practice manager' is really no good whatsoever. Trust to e they simply side with the doctor and malpractice he committed to. As for reporting them to the BMC Panorama declared none are ever struck off, merely moved sideways, and end up in another unsuspecting practice to commit further errors which result in illness and accompanying death.

  • At least we have to try. The only other option is to accept it. If enough people keep plugging away at it, things may change, but I won't hold my breath.

  • Your post moved me to tears. so sorry your parents received poor care. Some years ago my father also died of emphysema. He never went to hospital, had no oxygen, just a visit from the doctor who said give up those. those were his cigarettes, if you could call them that. He rolled his own, very thin and hardly drew on them, they were just a comfort. he died aged 79.

    I agree some doctors take a high and mighty attitude that discourages visits, thats probably the idea. Im 81 and our generation grew up in awe of professionals like doctors, especially if like me you came from working class. Now I know they dont know everything! I have found the older doctors, mine just retired, are more thorough and considerate. Im Sure there are good, caring, young doctors out there, just wish there were more of them. Love Iris x

  • I am sorry I upset you Iris. And yes, I'm a pleb and proud. Previously I always trusted Doctors, my mum on the other hand always referred to them as quacks. Sadly, in her case it was an accurate observation.

    Take care Iris x

  • Steve, such a sad post, but unfortunately, that is more the norm than not. Both my parents died due to neglect on the part of health professionals. I myself want to change my GP because the 'service' is non-existent, but I keep thinking "better the devil.........."? I am so afraid of going to a GP practice that is even worse! x

  • It seems everybody I talk to has had similar experiences. I think the fact is that good young Doctors do not want to become GP's. And that leaves us with those who just about scraped through.

    Take care x

  • I am so glad someone as had the strength to write this! For months I have been saying exactly the same thing but no-one listens! My own GP, whichever one I get at the time, could not give a damn as he is too busy buying fancy cars and fancy houses to care what is happening to patients! It doesn't matter what they do anymore, the money they are now paid is well beyond being paid for your capabilities, it is money just for being a doctor! You have my total backing on this and also my admiration for getting down to putting pen to paper.

  • This has been brewing a long time. And your experiences don't surprise me.

    I think I may have a solution, at least I'm going to do it. Write down everything you are seeing your GP about and take it with you. Explain your problems in the usual way and then hand the GP the written reason for your visit. Explain this by saying, it's in case I have forgotten to mention something. Tell the GP you do not need the letter back because you have a copy. I don't know if this will work, but I'm going to give it a try. I don't think many of today's GP's will enjoy a patient keeping a record of their responses and performance.

    Take care Juney x

  • Thanks for that advice Steve. I will do exactly that. It's high time someone, somewhere was actually doing something! Let me know what happens in your case. Best wishes, Juney

  • I'm there on the 31st. I'll let you know.

  • I'm with you the Dr's left last year because I moved a few years ago it was just after Christmas my husband phoned the Dr to visit as I was very poorly with stomach pains no he phoned 8.30 ok Dr will be with you some time this morning 1.30 husband phones to see where the Dr is she is in a meeting will get to you ASAS, surgery phoned to DR in a meeting. now seeing as I'm a COPD sufferer I get worried about dehydration so the doctor say they would leave a prescription at the deck for my husband to pick up. so she never called. That was the Tuesday come the Thursday my husband rushed me to hospital, where it turns out I spent 5 days in ICU as I had and Emergency operation for a gall bladder that had turned gang-green and septersemia I spent 3 weeks in hospital all together, my husband went into the surgery with a waiting room full people and said so everyone could hear that he would be suing the practice if I hadn't pulled through, now I understand that the surgery has taken on so many new patients that you have to wait over a week to get an appointment, I moved from there last year the DR,s I now have I have no complaints at all .

  • I'm so sorry Joyce. The type of neglect you suffered happens all too often. I hope your new GP is better, but just in case read my reply to Juney.

    Take care x

  • thanks Steve another time I wrote a letter of complaint to the practice manager about the attitude of one of the receptionist and never got a reply, they are a waste of time the practises by Heathrow Airport

  • And I thought it was mainly a northern problem. You have also reawakened a nightmare. The M25. It seems I spent half my life on that thing. Hate it!

    Take care x

  • I have had my own issues with the so called medical professionals.... Your experiences were unforgivable and i cant imagine how hard that was for you all

    If nobody had made a fuss when Dr Shipman was killing people how many more could have died.

    We have to speak up when these things happen ,,its peoples lives we are talking about and they must be held responsible for their actions .

    Not only were you let down in the worse way by your gp you were let down by everyone else who knew about it...........I hope anyone who has had such a terrible thing happen to them reports the gp or nurse etc because you have to ask the question "would they do it again to another family".

    I think we should look at this as being either part of the problem or part of the solution and i know which side i want to be...

    I am so very sorry your family went through that x x

  • Thanks for your kind comments. As for your other comments, I think you are bang on. Had these events happened in todays environment, I am sure we would have reported the GP. I blame myself. I'm the one who convinced her to see a Doctor, I'm the one who trusted them. My mum always said they were a lot of quacks. I also think there are a few more Shipmans out there and many more getting similar outcomes through incompetence.

    This is an old joke that to me rings true.

    What is the difference between God and a Doctor?

    God doesn't believe he is a Doctor.

    Take care Mandy and I hope the issues that you have experienced were not too serious. Let us be part of the solution. x

    PS. Did you message me this morning on, thought for the day. If not, I'm not being rude, I've only just received it. I wrote the UFO post to highlight TTIP. It may be my imagination, but anything remotely political appears to get a wide birth. Please correct me if I am wrong. x

  • ha ha ha.....Yeah it was me and the ufo line was a very clever move although i have to say dont underestimate the people on here they may not comment but they read and most are smart enough to know they are being taken for a ride.

    You did the right thing going to the gp thats what we do.....when we know better we can do it better. If you hadnt been through that you wouldnt have the story to share and its an important story and look at how many of us now know about your lovely certain she is proud of you x x x x x

  • Thank you Mandy. She always was proud of me. I've not been coming to the site that long and all the names tend to mingle into one, probably an age thing. I hope you don't mind, but I've looked back through your posts. You're going through the mill a bit aren't you? I now know you not only have a big heart, but also the courage of a lion. And even though it's only a little bit, I'm pleased to know you.

    Take care Mandy x

  • Thats the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me thank you sooooooooooooo much x

  • I doubt that, but you're welcome.

  • Did you ever get round to posting your story on ghosts and guardian angels......i think my guardian angels are on strike

  • No, I didn't. I decided not to for now. I might PM it at some point, if I can find out how to do it. And don't worry about your angles, I'm sure they are there.

  • Its easy to pm. You just click on the username you want to message and it will take you to their profile page where there a box on the right hand side of that page to click and send pm x

  • Got it.

  • Hi I am so sorry for all of you whose loved ones have suffered at the hands of incompetent doctors and I agree there are too many of those about. Both my parents received pretty good care when they were ill and finally dying so I guess they were lucky.

    At my practice I avoid male middle aged doctors, as being a middle aged woman they tend to treat me as 'a woman after the change of life seeking attention'. One of them gave me a prescription for pencillan despite me telling him I am allergic to it. He sat right back in his chair behind his desk all suited and booted and said patronisingly 'How do you know you are allergic to it'? I told him about a severe reaction I had to it years ago. Now I am no medic but even I now what a severe reaction is. 'It's not on your notes' he said. So I told him to please put it on as have asked on several occations. Fortunately I checked the prescription he gave me - it was still for penicillin! If I had taken this it could have killed me - I was furious. The only male doctors I will see are the younger ones who tend to still be keen and enthusiastic.

    My fave doctor is a lovely woman in her 30's and she is brilliant. My second choice is another lady around the same age and I find her very good too. x

  • I know you are right. I was told by a Doctor, to avoid seeing a partner in the practice and only see a Doctor employed by the practice. Also, you are right about younger Doctors, far better.

    Take care

  • Just to show the other side of the coin.I have had very few reasons to complain about my health care( yes I,m touching wood ).My GP has always been courteous and I have the choice of two who have known me for thirty years.I know I,m lucky but there are some good practices out there.Good luck finding them.D.

  • You certainly got the toy in the Kelloggs box, well done. Long may it continue.

    Take care FarmerD

  • Hi SteveR1, sorry I could not answer earlier,but can tell your experience of GPs has not been good to say the least. I have had a bad impression from them too on more than one occasion so agree with you the patient is not always to blame and some doctors even at hospitals can be complacent or behave like they know best. Doctors are human like us and make mistakes, misjudgements ect. It should never be presumed that an appointment or call out is time wasting until proven otherwise. I do not know a simple solution but belief we should work together to prevent time wastage so the time can be used in more productive ways to the doctors and patients advantage, so things are dealt with in a dignified way , promptly and with the best care given in crises situations.

  • I agree with a lot of what you write, but when a Doctor labels a patient as a time waster, is that doctor competent enough to make that decision. I think in many cases, not.

    Thanks Katie x

  • Your right on that Steve, I have suffered and witnessed the results of being labelled by doctors some of whom have been found wrong and still continued in their complacent way. As you say are they competent to make such decisions, and I would question some diagnosis decisions as in the case of your experience after all the patient is entitled to know what is wrong and be treated correctly. Doctors are supposed to be highly trained in their field and many have years of experience under their belt, so no doubt should arise. Some people need a little more explanation of the symptoms which requires more time or more appointments not sure that means they are time wasters either. We could find many faults don't you think, complainants are treated as time wasters often, but if no one complains nothing changes right or wrong. Most patients just want to know why they have the symptoms or feel ill and be treated if necessary with reasonable care. Good night Steve and thank you for such an open view of why you feel as you do.xx

  • You are so right.

    Good night Katie

  • Hmmm, GP Practices...... so many are uncaring places where we are at the mercy of people who have promised to " do no harm ", but seem to have precious little time to listen to their patients to enable them to make correct diagnoses and decisions.

    A couple of years ago, i had an ECG at the surgery and the nurse looked very worried, and asked me how i was feeling. The machine had flagged up a warning that I was having or about to have a heart attack. She asked me to return to the waiting room and stay there while she went to fetch one of the doctors .

    I was kept waiting there long after surgery was over for the morning, for well over an hour and a half, because the doctors were having a budget meeting and this scared patient came way down their list of priorities.

  • Disgraceful. You should have phoned 999 and embarrassed the buggers.

    I'm glad to see you survived. Not the best place to have a heart attack it seems. I would have been frightened witless.

    Take care

  • Thanks for that, certainly gave me something to think about. I'm surprised it has taken a top Doctor so long to come to that conclusion. They should've asked the patients in the 70's.

    Take care

  • its not just gp,s the nhs has a lot to answer for, don't get me wrong i would support the nhs anyway i could,,, but i know things are very different today than they were years ago,,

    ,can i just briefly put a copy of a letter written to the n,a,s,s [ank. spond. society ] this month. headed rheumatologists [of course this could be any consultant, breathing ec.]

    quote ,,,,

    "i had my latest appointment with my rheumatologist, and sadly was informed that i am no longer able to have the support from the hospital, and have been discharged to the care of my g.p. practise.

    Having twice failed ant-tnf treatments, due in the main to the disease being too far progressed when they were available. it seems i have to stay on amitriptyline for the rest of my life, as, in my rheumatologists opinion, theres nothing else in he pipeline that would help.

    x rays and mri scans indicate my spine is fused including my neck.which is apparently so rigid, that it would be to dangerous for me to have physiotherapy to help alleviate the pain and/or help with flexibility.

    At 62 i know feel that im on the scrap heap-in the past my previous rheumatologist has kept me on his books and sen me every 6 months and helped me whenever he could with back, knee, and ankle injections, ankle supports etc. and kept a very close eye on my bloods to monitor the effects of the drugs i take,


    Fortunately i have the support of a wonderful wife who does so much to help me.



    i am an oap, and find this type of thing very real,and very frightening, i have 4th stage copd and advanced ankylosing spondylitis. and quite often feel [much as i don't want to!! ] that they have "bunged" me on i am on the scrap heap,

    we need the nhs, we need good gp,s but we need good service, life saving service.

    We are now in the position of paying some g.p,s almost £1,000 A DAY!! some £800,some of these gp,s now only work 3 days, to avoid the heavy taxes.

    Now in saying this, like all workers, [gp,s are workers too ] there are good ones and bad ones, needy ones? and greedy ones.

    THE N,H,S needs to get all this sorted out, How, i don't know, but how sad have things become,, when that chap says,,,,,,,,,,,"I WONDER HOW MANY MORE PATIENTS WILL BE PUSHED DOWN THAT ROAD"

    Well personally,,,, i do wonder!!!!

  • I think if you asked any adult in this country, each would know at least one person who has been let down by the NHS. And that amounts to an awful lot of people. I'm sorry you're going through it, Jimmy. It should not happen in a decent and civilised society. It's good you have your lovely wife.

    Take care Jimmy

  • So sorry for your, your mother's and father's experience. So very, very sorry.

  • Thank you Kristia, but I'm sure there are many similar accounts out there.

    Thank you, take care

  • Its hard to believe these people are on a £100,000 plus a year for a 9- 5 bed side manors have gone through the window

  • Money for old rope.

    Take care

  • theres better "unofficial" g.p,s as members on this site,, i am quite serious , as qualified copd,rs i think we know better than some gp.s :) i know some advice i got worked well,, g,p never ever mentioned carbocisteine, yet on the advice given on this site i asked for it,,, and it works :)

    but we do really need some really good gp,s ,as their far and few between now,,, even their attitude nowadays, leaves a lot to be desired,,,, but unfortunately we do need them,

    years ago they might not have been so advanced, but things got done,,, aye with paper and pencil and stamps, it makes you wonder at times,,,,

    my gp lost "two" sputum samples, i bet they were just thrown away, saying" that old gits had it anyway :D"

    but they know i'm a stubborn old git :D :D ,, who refuses to go ,,, :D :D plenty years left in me yet,, :D :D [famous "last"

    words :D ] jimmy :)

  • Missed this one Jimmy, sorry. Long live stubborn old gits!

  • I think that what you have raised is very important. I had no idea a complaints procedure existed. I think your this is going to get lost in this post. Why don't you make this a separate post, it will attract far more attention. It deserves to.

    We can either ignore the problems or complain. I go with the complaint. This is our NHS, and to do anything else is to wave it, goodbye.

    I really hope your Mother recovered following her disgraceful treatment, it can't be easy at that age. What the hell is wrong with our society, when this type of treatment is deemed as acceptable.

    Good to meet you, flibberti

  • I will be on here tomorrow and will most definitely support it.

    Take care

  • Couldn't agree more with you! And the amount they are paid is astronomical considering the majority, if not all, are lazy, smug, egotistical b's.

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