PMRGCAuk
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A Positive View of the NHS

After seeing some posts about the difficulty of dealing with the medical profession particularly Estellemac’s recent comments about Doctor Training I thought it would be good to talk about my positive experience to show that there are good Doctors out there. In a way I may be lucky in that I live in an area that has a way higher proportion of older patients than most practices and so they are used to dealing with cantankerous grumpy old men!!

When I first started experiencing the issues which I now know was PMR rearing it's ugly head the doctor in the practice looked at all sorts of potential problems and I went off to see a knee specialist (both knees now in some need of half replacements) and tried various other things. Went on for six months without coming up with a solution but then watching a repeat TV programme (Doc Martin on Dave for those of you UK based) I realised that the pronounced arteries in my forehead could be GCA. A quick call to the duty doctor and within an hour I was having a blood test and after the weekend and the results she was arranging for me to visit the rheumatologist. That was 21 months ago, and I hadn't seen the original doctor until a month or so ago when I saw her in relation to something else. Her first words to me when I walked into the surgery were "I owe you a serious apology for not recognising your PMR symptoms last time I saw you and I am surprised you had the confidence to come and see me again. It could have had serious consequences with the GCA". We continued to have quite a conversation about PMRGCA and how rare it is for doctors to come across a case and how there needs to be more education of medical practitioners particularly in relation to GCA and its potentially catastrophic consequences.

Going on from my diagnosis the surgery has been great. They have worked with me on pred reduction schedules and the consequences of my two big flares. I get priority on booking appointments, I get a text with the results of my monthly blood test the morning after it has been taken and have great communication with the doctor via email with a 24-hour response time. I don't think I could find better interaction anywhere. I'm also blessed with a great pharmacist who is independent of the big chains and is the third generation of his family to be the local pharmacist operating and living in the same premises. Given he is not far from retirement we are all hoping that one of his children might follow in his footsteps!! Combine all of that with a rheumatologist who works with me, reacts to what is happening with me, arranges regular scans and is keen to try new approaches (currently on my eighth week of a Leflunomide trial which is being looked at as a potential new treatment) I really have a great deal of confidence in the NHS though we do need to raise the awareness of PMRGCA much further

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Thank you for posting this Retailmonkey. I have a few family members working for the NHS including my daughter and it’s nice to hear when things go as they should do.

All good wishes.

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Your experience has indeed been exemplary. Personally I see a lot of parts of the NHS that are starved of resource. Doctors and Nurses with the best will in the world cannot perform daily miracles and yet somehow, some of them do. My fear is that the current administration may not see free healthcare for all,as a goal to pursue. I hope I am proved wrong.

There have been some dismal experiences outlined on here but some very positive ones too.

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Hi,

Good to hear! Most do a great job in very trying circumstances, and we probably don’t praise the good ones enough, yet are ready to condemn those who don’t. Human nature I guess!

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I feel almost reluctant to sing the praises of my GP, as I feel so sorry for those on the forum who have horror stories to tell. However, my experience is similar to yours, Retailmonkey. I am sent a text the day after a blood test; I can ring the Practice and leave a message for him to call me and I'm given a time when he will call - usually between 7 and 8am before he starts his surgery! I can view all my results on line and I have my GP's email address to send him any messages. I don't abuse this, but he gave it to me, insisting that when I've seen the Rheumy, I email to tell him what was said. I say "But you'll get a letter", but he prefers to hear it from me asap!

The Practice is a busy, city suburban one, but he is a doctor who truly CARES. I am so fortunate.

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Excellent! Clone the entire practice...

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You've made me put 'pen to paper' which up until now I haven't done because I felt bad reading about the terrible treatment others are experiencing at their local surgeries.

However much the same as you Retailmonkey I can't praise my surgery enough. My current GP came into the practice around the time I was having early signs of GCA and only by accident did I see him the day I was at the end of my tether with what I now know were GCA symptoms.

He was so quick on the ball I was fast tracked to Rheumatology the same day and diagnosed within 24 hours and on treatment. I note fast tracking isn't used in all surgeries but something that is gradually being rolled out?

I've missed a lot out re my long run up to diagnosis but my visual problems I always credit him with saving my sight - I had lost sight in my right eye the previous evening and felt so ill went to bed! Fortunately my sight had returned the next morning.. but did get an emergency appointment with him who, more importantly, knew about GCA and I know takes a genuine interest in it. I can go to him anytime in between my Rheumy appointments should I need to, he never says you need to see Rheumy they are treating you now, which is what some GPs would do. I too get priority appointments. It's another story but the surgery have looked after my husband for many years so this is not just a one-off, they call us if there's any problem with results make home visits for him when necessary, it truly is amazing. No 1 son in Yorkshire thinks we couldn't get better if we were paying for private treatment compared to where he is. I've only given a potted history overall I haven't mentioned my cancer treatment but that's another story too.

Last but by no means least we have just the best Pharmacy, nothing is too much trouble, it makes life so much easier to be able to put your trust in these wonderful healthcare professionals.

Each and ever year at Christmas and Easter we buy the practice and pharmacy staff chocolates and flowers to show our appreciation for all their hard work throughout the year, it's the least we can do..

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