COPD: Hi peeps I was reading a post... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

46,177 members54,482 posts



Hi peeps

I was reading a post about someone being told by their GPs receptionist that they have copd.

This happened to me last week and I was totally shocked.

I had rung for results of a chest X-RAY that I had been sent for as I have Flu and I’m asthmatic and she simply read the results out as background copd, no chest infection. I had been on steroids and antibiotics the previous week. I have to go next week for the spyro test so hope to find out more then but fir now I feel very worried and shocked.

35 Replies

That was very insensitive. You should have been given an appointment to discuss it privately with your doctor. I wish you all the best and that you will get whatever you need to make things comfortable. Please try not to stress, that makes everything worse as you probably already know. Take care.

Redders55 in reply to Hidden

Thank you Sheepdog, I guess I did ask for the results so shouldn’t really complain but it was a heck of a shock so a medical explanation from a dr would have been better. Xxx

sak50 in reply to Redders55

Please also tell your doctor this is what happened - I have had similar bad experiences with receptionists (and consultants sectaries for that matter). My doctor said he was very glad I had told him my concerns and said that as GPs they can't put things right if they don't know. I have to say it has taken a bit of time but I am now seeing a very different attitude from the reception staff and a lot of improvement in the communication in this area!!

Redders55 in reply to sak50

Yes I do agree and it worries me on other patients behalf really. I will mention it to the doctor but I cannot actually say who she was, but maybe the system of disclosure ought to be looked at xxx

Hello, and a very warm welcome to the group. I'm so very sorry to hear that you've been subjected to this unforgivable behaviour and can only say, try not to worry (I know that it's easier said than done). Good luck with the spirometry test....I hope that all goes well for you. Take care. XXX

Redders55 in reply to Pam1952

Thank you Pam, I’m sure I will feel better after the test and app with the dr xxx

Hang on. She rang for the results of an xray and the receptionist read them out as requested. What is unforgivable there?

Redders55 in reply to Inamoment

Usually the receptionist will make a doctors appointment saying he needs to see me, So I was shocked at the unexpected result and the bluntness with which it was given really

mrsmummy in reply to Redders55

Many doctor's surgeries no longer give results over the telephone at all. It is not for a receptionist to give this kind of information to a patient simply because they have no medical training and so cannot answer any questions or give any advice. Will you complain to the surgery about this practice?

Redders55 in reply to mrsmummy

I always thought that was the case but recently the receptionist have been able to say if blood tests etc are normal or not.

I guess I did ask for the result so shouldn’t really complain, and they have been very good at getting the nurses out to me during the 3 weeks of my illness. It’s a difficult one really xxx

Stumpy55 in reply to Redders55

I think it's not right for receptionist's to tell you what the problem is. She should have said "the doctor would like to see you to discuss " the prognosis with you" and leave it at that in my opinion. She is not qualified to discuss anything with the patient only to make appointments etc on that level. I remember once when I wanted to see the doctor and the receptionist wanted to know why, I just said that I will talk to the doctor when I see him. Take care ✋️😊

Redders55 in reply to Stumpy55

Thank you, that’s completely right and I do feel that really I ought to say something about it xxx

Stumpy55 in reply to Redders55

Yes I agree you should, I know I would. Good luck Redders55, please let us know how you get on? 🙂

Redders55 in reply to Stumpy55

Thank you, I will do xxx

shadow4me in reply to Inamoment

They are supposed to tell you to come in and see doc or the doctor will phone their self if their is something found

Stumpy55 in reply to shadow4me

Exactly, it dose annoy me when receptionist's give out information over the phone. Whatever happened to patient confidentiality. And when the receptionist wants to know all about the problem, when all she needs to do is make an appointment. 😬

Oh my goodness----what a way to deal (or not deal) with a patient. And is there anything like Hipa (sp---this was / is a very paper laden practice of protecting patient confidentiality in the US----in my Pul rehab the therapists aren't even allowed to comment on clients) ? Only the physician or a credential assistant , or nurse practitioner are permitted to see medical information.

As to being panicked----when my lung CT showed emphysema it also showed "calcium deposits in my coronary arteries." Of course I immediately presumed the worse----I wasn't going to expire slowly from COPD but fast from a heart attack. I was semi crazed (and depressed) saw a cardiologist (who wasn't very worried) had a stress test and ended up doing 130% over the average female of my age. It turns out almost everyone gradually accumulates some deposits.

So unlike me , take any supposed "findings" with a calm view.

Redders55 in reply to patmc1

Hi Patmc1

Yes, I would have preferred a doctor to explain it properly really. I’ve been 3 weeks in bed now with the flu and only got dressed to go for the x Ray. I certainly wasn’t expecting that result but now I’ve read more about it, I find it is well explained as my dad died at age 41 with emphysema and I had asthma ever since his death.

Like everything else life throws at us, we deal with it though, and I am grateful it was found at stage I.

You sound like you have more than your fair share of health worries too and I do wish you well with them xxx

Hi........ this is unacceptable. It is not the place of a receptionist to give you information of this everyone knows.

If she does not know this, then she needs serious instruction. You need to contact the practice manager and voice your complaints, it is very wrong for you to be left in limbo as you are.... You need to discuss your possible problems with either a chest nurse or a doctor.

Best foot forward ,

Jo. ☺

Redders55 in reply to Buzzytruk

Thank you Jo, you are right and I wouldn’t want others to be informed of this sort of thing like this.

Others may panic and not really be able to cope. I was stunned but I do have the type of personality to say, ok just going to have to deal with it. And I can wait for the spyro test and more info.

I should say something about it, I just hate getting people into trouble really xxx

Buzzytruk in reply to Redders55

Hi....... You may be able to deal with waiting for a spyro test etc... but why should you. ? I can understand your reluctance to cause upset by complaining but you have said it your self...... some patients could have panicked .......suppose it does not stop with copd. There are some conditions which although innocent have a ' C ' in their blood test title, just imagine the effects..... I hate to think if it was me.... 😬

So long as you are ok with it all, thats the main thing for now.

Jo..... 😊

shadow4me in reply to Buzzytruk

To be honest you are right but COPD is has bad has some Cs x

Ask to see your gp asap so they can explane your results properly. I think its wrong that results like yours are given over the phone by a reseptionist wonderfull as they are they are not qualified to answer your questions so unless the result is all clear it should be a dr or nurse who gives out this kind of news. I hope you get all your questions answerd soon try not to worry

No way should the receptionist have told you at our surgery they normally ring you to ask if you could come in to see doctor or the doc will ring you their self x

Redders55 in reply to shadow4me

Hi, yes that is what I would have expected really, heaven knows what else they have been disclosing to patients.

My copd is in the early stages but it’s no small thing to deal with yet it was read out to me with a matter of fact attitude. I said that can’t be my x Ray, go and check please. I have asthma and currently got flu but never been diagnosed with copd xxx

D1a2 in reply to Redders55

Whether the receptionist was doing their job correctly is open to debate. However please remember that the term COPD covers a very big field, so the best thing is to see the doc

Redders55 in reply to D1a2

Yes, I do have mixed feelings about it as I obviously asked for the results and she gave them to me, most likely being helpful in her opinion. That’s why I really don’t want to get her into trouble.

I understand my copd is in its early stages so at least I have the chance of doing everything I can to help stop it progressing too fast xxx

think it was wrong for receptionist to give out this information,In the older days before modern surgeries, the receotion area was outside the waiting area, and although you could hear private discussions, Nobody knew who was at the desk and the confidential matters being discussed.Nowadays everyones looking and hearing you say why you need to see a doctor,very embarrasing.please report her .

Thank you for that, yes, the more I think of it I think it’s the right thing to do xx


Hi Redders55, very sorry to hear about your predicament. Can I ask what your symptoms were? Kind regards


Redders55 in reply to Hidden

Hi Luke. I have been getting breathless lately but just put it down to being asthmatic, then 5 weeks ago I got Flu, the real deal Flu that put me in bed for weeks. I was very breathless getting up for the bathroom and when the nurse came out she said I was rattling and crackling when she listened to my chest. I was coughing up mucky stuff too but just thought it was infected. She had me go to hospital for an x Ray and I was so week my daughter had to push me in a wheelchair to the department.

It was from that x Ray that I was told I have background copd. I’m still waiting for my spiro test as the one I had booked last week got cancelled, I’m going on the 7th April for it now and then I should find out what my lung capacity is.

Thank you for asking

Best wishes

Lynn x

Hidden in reply to Redders55

Thanks for being so open, I hope you'll get the correct treatment and it isn't too serious.

All the best

Luke x

Redders55 in reply to Hidden

Thank you Luke, I think we are all pretty open on here and on a couple of Facebook groups I’m on. It’s all about helping each other really and everyone is different.

I find the support invaluable. Do you have COPD? X


Hi Redders55. Welcome to the group. On steroids and antibiotics myself at the moment, Again !!!!!. Good luck with your Spirometery test which is nothing to worry about and it will give them a good idea which treatment will work best for you. All the best. Teuchter.


Me again Redders. Just noticed your post is 2 years old. I'm new to this as you have probably guessed. Will creep into a corner with red face. Lol. Teuchter.

You may also like...