How to switch to a different GP in the practice without causing trouble?

I've been having serious issues with my GP - registered when I moved away from London in 2011 and he has lied to me about referrals, been generally obstructive, clueless and even 'lost' morphine prescriptions in my name (not brilliant!).

I went to have my mirena removed recently by a female GP - she couldn't remove it but she did seem quite reasonable and pleasant. I would like to start seeing her but not sure how to go about it - if I go in there and start talking about ongoing problems she'll just tell me to see my usual GP. If I am unpleasant about him, that could get her back up.

The truth is, I haven't received adequate care since I moved away from London. The GP referred me to a pain consultant - the guy saw me for 4 minutes then came up with a "pain management programme", which was essentially to stop all painkillers (I'm on a very high dose of morphine) within 6 months without any other treatment for pain. The specialist who treated me in London told me it would take years to reduce and I'd probably never be able to stop. Even better, the guy wrote to my GP to tell him of the reduction, and said he wouldn't send me a follow-up appointment - so he expects me to reduce my daily dose by over 100mg a month with no help, and has essentially discharged me. Great.

I tried to explain this to my gp and asked for a referral to a local endo pain specialist - he said no.

On top of this, I have ongoing hormonal problems since a two year course of zoladex with no HRT which show there is a problem with my hormone levels - my gynae gave me one blood test while the mirena coil was in saying everything is normal and that's it. Never mind the actual symptoms, it's just all fine. I've also never had a bone scan and I'm having serious joint pain that's limiting my ability to move - all this means I want to see an endocrinologist.

Furthermore, I have ME and am not seeing anyone or receiving any help with that at all. It's become much worse and I've been mainly housebound since new year.

Basically, I want to explain to her that my pain needs are not being treated - have reduced by a quarter so far and my pain is not under control - and I want a referral to a specialist. I also need help with my ME and my hormones investigated by a specialist.

I just don't know how to handle this - or what to say the first time I go in there. I need to get from her not knowing my case at all to wanting to help, without insulting the other doctor or sounding like I'm too demanding or a hypochondriac.

How would you go about this and what would you say?

Would really appreciate any help


11 Replies

  • Hiya! It is a lot easier than you think to change your GP as long as the Doctor you are wanting to go to has room on their list to take you! Just write a letter to the GP you want to go to (you don't need to give a reason why you want to leave the GP you have) asking if you can join their list and go from there! Having a GP you can go to and trust is very important to us endo sufferers! I have a lady GP who is great ... but is only available 2 days a week! But she is fantastic as I can call the surgery and ask for a callback from her which she always does and I can discuss any concerns over the phone and if she feels she needs to see me she books me in there and then! You have every right to explore different GPs in the same way as it takes us time to find a hairdresser we like! They all do the same job but there is always one we are happier to discuss things with! Good Luck in sorting it x

  • You have every right to change your doctor within the practice. There is, I believe, a procedure. You could call the surgery anonymously/not willing to give your name as you only need advice. Or write to the Practice Manager. There may even be something on their website if they have one. You may not be able to see the doctor of your choice, but at least a move away from an incompetent A*** who clearly has no idea and is at risk of making you really poorly, must be of benefit. I would perhaps even consider reporting him.

    So sorry for your pain, none of this is fair. Hang in there xxx

  • Thanks ladies, really appreciate the responses.

    The situation has been a nightmare - the guy doesn't listen, contradicts himself, tells me lies about referrals, is just generally not understanding. I'm being treated worse than a drug addict - if I'd gone to them saying I wa a morphine addict with no pain, I'd be getting more support from them than I am now. I haven't done anything wrong, and the stress has been so bad, it really hasn't helped.

    Think I will make an appointment with the other GP and try to speak to her - just not sure where to start, and how to make her understand that I just want someone who is interested in my case and wants to help as I feel like I'm going through all this without any help at the moment. I had such incredible medical care in London, it's a real shock to the system to be in this position again.

  • That's really weird as in our practice you just ask to see whoever you want (or who is available at the time you are free). People often have one particular GP, but within a practice you can see whoever, you don't need to be formally put on a list. The only formality is when you change to a whole different practice.

    I think before you do anything you should clarify the procedure of your practice with the practice manager or receptionist as you may be worrying about nothing x

  • I can just book an appointment with anyone, so I can just go and see her - I just want to go in there as if I'm a new patient to the practice, but her response may be that she won't do any referrals etc as my usual GP knows my case better.

    I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well! Basically I want to find a way to say to the new doctor that I would like her to be my regular doctor and to help me get some help, I'm just not sure of the best way to go about it, without her becoming defensive about her colleague.

  • Just book to see her, and continue to do so, in the same practice it's as easy as that! I think you're worrying too much (understandably). If any questions are asked, just say you feel more comfortable with a female doctor - easy.

  • Hi, our GP practice is the same as the above, you can ask to see which ever GP you want to see. The easiest thing for you to say is that you prefer to see a female GP as you have endometriosis, I can't see how they could mind that.

    I hope you start to get the help that you need. My GP is very good at referrals etc but if you ask him tricky questions he literally sits there and just says nothing! really useful. Having said that he has always referred me when needed and given me which ever medication I have asked for so I can't really complain. He doesn't have clue about endo though x

  • I've never had a GP that knows about endo, but the good ones have understood that I doquestion out it, and know my own body. My GP in London was amazing - the first one I joined landed me in hospital by refusing to prescribe my morphine - but whn I moved to a new practice I got the best GP ever. She took a genuine interest, asked me how things were at work, fought my corner with my employer and co-ordinated all my consultants etc. At the moment, all I am to my GP is a patient who needs to get off morphine - not a person, with pain and ME who takes the morphine for a reason. I don't know whether I'll have better luck with the female GP there but it would save a lot of trouble. I don't know why some of these people become doctors when they seem to have no people skills or empathy!


  • Oops. I do *understand it*. Stupid phone.

  • I know exactly what you mean. I have to take tramadol and went to a new GP as mine was off. He took my blood pressure, said it was too high (when it wasn't anything to panic about) and said I need to stop tramadol almost immediatley (only 1 a day) when I asked "what about the pain?" he said "paracetamol & do you want to have a stroke"! scared me half to death. I stopped, ended up at the emergency GP in agony, no surprise there then! and was immediately put back on it. People seem to think I take them for the fun of it (which it isn't).

    I hope it goes better with the female GP, can't be much worse x

  • I have two GPs. The one I am actually registered with whom I see for general health issues, and the lady GP, who is actually specialising in gynae issues. She was really good, but she's off on maternity at present, and so I was then seeing a locum who is about as helpful as a chocolate fireguard.

    Anxiously awaiting the return of the good lady doc from her leave.

    I just ask which docs I can get to see when I call for a non-urgent appointment. I appreciate it sometimes does get a bit awkward when you've seen one GP for so long and they know your medical history as well as you do, but there is no rule that forces you to see one rather than a different one. It's your choice to ask to see a lady doc rather than a chap for example.

    It's often a good idea to have a chat with the receptionist and ask their opinion about which GP is best to see for a particular medical issue. some GPs are better at paediatrics, some better with womens health, some better with occupational health and so on.

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