How does everyone feel about their GP? Are they supportive or do you feel like they don't really care?

I'm beginning to lose all faith in doctors to be honest, I feel like my GP has no empathy for me and I really don't feel like they want to help. Everytime I go to my GP they always try to prescribe me some anti depressants when I've made it quite clear that they don't work for me. I live in one of the most deprived areas of the UK and I was just wondering if this affected the quality of treatment I receive in terms of getting a diagnosis or an appropriate referral? What I mean is, would I get better care/treatment if I lived in a big city because there are more treatment facilities and better funding?

24 Replies

  • My GP is very approachable, very down to earth and I really like her. However sometimes when I haven't seen her for a while she loses touch of what's going on for me. That's completely understandable as I know I'm just one of millions of patients in her care, it just feels a bit impersonal sometimes. GP's are so busy and incredibly overworked. I think if someone were to take away the red tape and paperwork, and give them more time to spend with patients, quality of care would improve significantly.

  • I agree, I think that patient care would vastly improve if doctors had the time to get to know the patient but I still think that patients deserve empathy no matter what their health problems are :)

  • My experience is that deprived areas are often really good for acute serious accidents and long term chronic physical conditions such as cancer or renal failure as there tend to be major and prestigious teaching hospitals relatively near, but for mental health I think they are worse for GP care and availability of staff but better for potential services because there is more variety of them. For example, in the small town where I live there are relatively few services for mental health within the voluntary sector and no private therapies, whereas in the city I moved from there were loads to choose from if you have the money.

    I moved from a middle class area of a major city to a working class and relatively deprived town and medical services are very different. Within the city area where I lived there was an enlightened view about medical care with an emphasis on information and prevention - when my ex husband had sciatica he was sent to a pain clinic and also on a 6 week course for self care which included trying various types of exercise, psychological methods of pain control, support groups, etc. I had the same thing at about the same time and my GP said take painkillers, otherwise I was offered nothing. However I think the difference is not always typical and it depends upon the kind of area within a city and also on the particular GP.

    My GP practice has 4 GPs and each is different. The one I see most works in tandem with me and is easy to get on with but errs on the side of caution and will not prescribe something she does not believe in even if there is evidence that it can be beneficial. Unlike my GP in the middle class city area, this one is used to patients expecting her to be the expert and at times I have felt we could come to blows verbally when I have researched something and go armed with information but she is cooperative and when I ask she will usually agree to refer me to specialist services. I feel she does necessary basic tests but she does not ask questions in order to get a fuller picture but she is pleasant to get on with and I do not dread seeing her. One of the GPs I find controlling, one is good but I feel swamped by her manner and there is a new one who seems pleasant but gave me incorrect advice in telling me it is not possible to take too much Vitamin D whereas I have since discovered it definitely is.

    I think each GP has their pros and cons and you need to find one that is right for you. Maybe instead of saying antidepressants don't work for you maybe you can say you have not found them helpful and suggest what alternative treatment you would like to be referred for e.g. counselling? You could research that for yourself and see what you think might be helpful for your particular situation or you could ask people on this site?

    In terms of financing services, I think if you have money yourself then being in a city is beneficial but without money I think most services are even more over-stretched than other less urban areas. You say your area is deprived but it may be that money is put into the area because of that? It all depends what kind of deprivation and what is being done about it.

    I do agree with Lucy that Gps are overworked and are not experts in mental health care although patients expect them to be so. Doing some thinking and asking around yourself in order to try to understand your own depression is helping yourself to help the GP help you, so you could tell us about yourself and how your depression developed and maybe we could suggest some possible treatments? There is a wealth of experience between people on the site.


  • (Sorry about not going into more depth with this post/question) I feel that my GPs are good at dealing with and physical health problems but they don't really seem to know how to go about dealing with mental illness. There are 4 GPs at my local doctors and I've seen all four of them at some point regarding my mental health, they never seem to know how to handle my mental health problems and I always feel like they want me out of the door ASAP. In regards to private treatment that just isn't an option for me, I have no financial income so I really can't afford to fund my own treatment. There are barely any mental health services in my area, whenever I ask my GP if there's any charities or services in the area that can help me she just says that there is nothing more that she can offer me which I think is nonsense. I feel that I've been depressed for as long as I can remember (I had a very traumatic childhood) and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 15 years old. Since then I've been on various anti depressants, had 2 courses of CBT and a course of counselling but these treatments never helped me at all, I feel that I need some really intense treatment because I've got a lifetime of misery to get over and I don't think things like counselling quite do the job. There is only one other doctors surgery in my town but they aren't currently taking on new patients :(

  • I'm not a great fan of doctors - long history of distrust going back more than 40 years to being put on tranquilisers when I was 11.

    I think there are two types of doctors - those who think medicine is science and all they need to do is find the right formula, and those who know it is a mixture of science and art and are prepared to be open and honest about that - the second sort are the ones that are open to working with their patients and learning from them.

    Like you I haven't found anti-depressants useful and in some cases the side-effects have totally freaked me out. I won't take them and have generally just gone off and found other things that have helped on my own - think there are two few GPs in this world who are really prepared to work with and listen to patients and yes, it's really hard because they are just generalists and we are expecting them to know everything so shouldn't be surprised when it turns out that they don't.

  • I agree, although I've never had the pleasure of meeting a doctor who wants to actually get to know the patient and help them haha. I've also had some weird side effects from anti depressants, they make me feel like a zombie and I hate it. I've been off them for a while now and I'm feeling a bit better for it :)

  • Did you get any luck approaching a pyschiatrist? I notice from your previous posts you have tried CBT and anti depressants but feel you may have bi-polar. Have you got any further with getting any help with this? The pyschiatrist will be much better equipped than a GP to help but don't know if you have one as you said in a previous post that your GP said there were none in your area. You need to press them on this as I would have thought there must be somewhere they can refer if you are in the Uk ?

    I am concerned about you with you being so young and unable to get the help you need and having such bad mood swings.

    You say you live in a "deprived area"but it will depend what you mean by that. I live in a big city (Birmingham) but the area I live in is classified as a deprived area I think. My view is that in my area because it is a big city there are lots of specialists organisations and schemes. My experience of the pyschiatric service I can't compare with anywhere else but there are many variations of people but I agree quite a lot available though there are long waits .

    If it is bipolar then the meds you will need will not just be AD's as they can actually make it worse. I wonder why it is you're not getting the help you need and also what you think the help you need is? We are here to help so please post back when you're up to it as sometimes it is only with more information we can offer more help.

    Gemmalouise X

  • I really wouldn't know how to go about approaching a psychiatrist on my own and my doctor said there isn't any in my area that I can be referred to :( I've been to the doctors and asked again to be referred to a psychiatrist but they have referred me to CBT instead (I have no idea why). I really am starting to not want to visit the doctors anymore because I feel like I'm making no progress whatsoever and it's like talking to a brick wall. My town is really small (I live in Burnley) so there's not a lot of mental health services and the NHS waiting lists are really long. I feel like anti depressants made me a lot worse and made my mood swings worse than ever, I really need a psychiatrist to diagnose me so that I can get the appropriate treatment/support for my condition. I think I'm going to go to the doctors in the next few weeks and really press them about being referred to a psychiatrist even if I have to travel out of my local area.

    Amy x

  • Amy I think you really must push your gp to make a referral to see a psychiatrist. I have just googled it briefly and I can see there are at least two in Burnley (though i'm sure there are more) One is based in the general hospital. Ask your GP politely of course but do ask again. Say the CBT has not worked and you really feel you need some more help.

    A really good thing about this is your age. You still have every opportunity to improve as it is obvious you want to.

    I do think its a good sign you are seeking help and I do believe we can heal from what I would call this Spiritual pain that poor life circumstances have set up for us. There will be things you have missed having, ideas that have got mixed up, a poor self image, uncertainty and pain if you are anything like me. Also you are right it could be bi-polar but even that can be contributed towards by poor circumstances but you may find that drugs but not just AD's play an important role if this is the case.

    Therapy does need to be the right type for you and when you see the psychiatrist do speak up and say as much as you can about your circumstances and what you feel you need ; like you say you need something intensive presumably because you know what you have been through was intense and has affected you badly.

    I do feel you can heal from this because you have a pro-active attitude and a lot of awareness especially for your age and that is a very good sign that you can get a lot healthier mentally in my opinion.

    Let us know how you get on as I'll be thinking of you and hoping you get the help you need and deserve Amy . Gemmalouise XX

  • Quiz time gemma .

  • I will definitely try next time I visit the GP, I've mentioned to my doctor before that I don't feel that CBT works for me. I have kept a diary of my mood swings and just general day to day problems so I'm hoping that this can help the psychiatrist to make a better judgement on diagnosis :) I really do want to get better so I'm willing to try any treatment that the doctors recommend, thank you for your advice I'm feeling a lot better now :) x

  • I moved from oxford, to banbury, and luckily I found a woman doctor who listened, which made a whole lot of difference, I trusted her, and she gave me options of what I wanted, gave me ideas of what we could try, and that helped me,,, I didnt want someone to know all the answers, because I know now, they dont have the answers. Because everyone is different.

    All I can tell you is, if your not happy, with your gp or anything, only you, can change that, change doctors or keep doing that until you find one that will listen to you. They get paid for seeing you, they offer the service and get paid for doing so. No longer do we or should we feel powerless, or put them on a pedistool, like we used to in the old days, and meekly say yes, to "everything" they say, as if they were a god. Because doctors have bad days, go see them in the morning when they are not too tired, dont go at 6pm as they are just thinking of putting their feet up with a cuppa, it maybe not that they dont care, it might be they just are human.

    Maybe they were having a off day. maybe someone said something that pssed them off.

    But when we feel depressed we tend to think that way, and not see the whole picture.

    Try cbt, see if that helps, or a counsellor who can help you see things of how they might be, not how your seeing things right now.

    keep well, Linda

  • I really want to change doctors but there are no other doctors in my area that are taking on new patients unfortunately. My doctor also makes me feel really intimidated but I think that's just me being anxious, I've had two courses of CBT and one course of counselling and it didn't help me at all, I feel like I need a more intense form of therapy but those services just aren't available to me :(

  • What was one course of therapy?? one question , did any of your family suffer depression? did you have a happy upbringing? I ask these things for a reason, as it might help me to help you,,,in which direction , you should go next. in all honest Im not a great believer in national health counselling as I believe that it takes longer than say six sessions to even break wind. with a client. Trust takes a fair time to be built up, in some cases, it can take as long as it takes.

    What some people who say they have "tried" it means, they were going to the sessions, then it got a bit uncomfortable then they assumed that is wasnt working "for them"

    they started getting or thinking about things that they may want to forget. the mind goes in a world of deep thinking. if that was the case , it was starting to work.

    It hurts a lot before it gets better and you have to go through the pain in order to get through it,,,, then it never comes back to that stage ever again. you feel, you hurt, you mend.

    Or you didnt feel the counsellor was doing anything? well its up to the person to tell her that is what you feel, so your giving your feelings about the whole thing and then that is the building up the trust thing, being honest,, is the first part of that. I know we are scared to hurt other people, but being honest, gets it out there!! I hope that helps a bit,,,Linda

  • My dad has suffered from severe depression since he was in his late teens, i've had a very unhappy upbringing which I believe is the root of all my problems. I really haven't managed to connect with any counsellor or therapist, I'm more than willing to go through painful memories in order to get better. I felt like the counsellor was just there for a friendly chat but thats not what I'm there for, I really didn't like counselling. X

  • so why do you really not like counselling, can you tell me more, what you mean?

    So you expected more from her,,,, why didnt you say that? you can say those things,,, to challenge her.

    okay this is a direction for you. find a counsellor who does person centred counselling , and say you want to work on the inner child.

    here is some books I think you might find helpful to read. toxic parents by doctor susan forward.

  • There were just a lot of awkward silences because I didn't really know what to say to her so she would just fill it with meaningless conversation, I will definitely look into person centred counselling :) I dont think hormones plays a part in this, I think the root of the problem is a bad childhood. My moods get a lot worse in the winter because of how gloomy it is :/ x

  • you have just answered you own diagnosis your suffering from seasonal effective disorder. The brain is effected by the lack of light value, is lux value of something like 10,0000 in summer, and drops to 3- 5 in the winter or dull days. same symptoms as depression, feeling sleepy or cant sleep at night, concentration and memory problems. winter depression.

    So go online they should be cheaper at this time of year, but get a Seasonal effective disorder lamp, and use it through the winter, and dull days.

    Or move to a sunnier climate. which is going to be my choice.

  • imagin the doctor naked, I know that is an awful thought but someone told me this years ago, then they seem less intimidating. owhhh yuck

  • So there is a heriditory link there, your dad, was a teen when he was a teenager, your a teenager,,, the second link is,,,, pubity,,,, hormones,,,,, this is why I asked the questions. this is why you need the diary,,, to see if it effects your moods, ie period times....

  • I think that is gp was very good to start with btu as I got worse in the last few years a constant battle to get diagnosed.they have no or little care or seems that path labs ahve the final say on blood results and symptoms don't count.are keen to provide meds btu not find out the cause of conditions.feel that saying gps are busy and overworked is no excuse fro lack of care.refuses to make referrals and dislikes when tyr to find answers for myself cos not given any.

  • I must say I am happy with my GP.

    He is very kind and very supportive and helpful with my depression. I see a Psychiatrist

    For :Depression. In Ireland it's different as you have to pay to see your Dr. And pay

    For medication too, unless you are on benefits.

    I get blood tests and I have no complaints. I do find it strange that people here

    Complain so much about their Dr. I guess if your not happy then change the dr .

    But my friend who is a Dr. Tells me that lots of people are self diagnosing on

    The internet, and they start imagining they have all types of diseases.

    I think the main thing is to feel you like the Dr. And have a relationship with them, it's

    A vert individual thing.


  • I know what you mean buddy, & i reckon Dr's are just "salesmen" for drug companies..If your depressed i'll prescribe you something right now for free, that will change your thinking then your whole life for the better....It's on utube & it's called: "Eckhart Tolle anxiety and fear" it should be 17.05 mins long..He's got 1000's of vids on there, but try that one & see if you can get the "gist" of it....Stop watching all news & T.V, & stop reading all newspapers....Do what Bruce Lee said: Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water!..I live in the UK buddy, & our Government doesn't give a flying **** about us haven't you realized yet?lol....So honestly buddy a 17.05 min vid if you watch it & get into his teachings, & actually practice it every day (just like Bruce Lee did) "WILL" change your life for the better.

  • general practioner,,,,, not god.

    please do a diary for one year, see one if it links to your periods in some way, write each day how your feeling.

    2. Does it link in with the weather, ie very sleepy, anxiety in winter months, starting around the time it gets dull and no sun.

    I wrote you a big important piece clicked one button and its disappeared. grrrr

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