Greetings to all of You Lot who, for better or worse, follow my Ramblings (and occasional Rantings) here. As usual, all I can say is: haven't you got better things to do?
Anyway, I'll get to the point. Some of you might remember one of my recent Posts complaining about Dizziness when getting out of bed (usually in the mornings), looking upwards (e.g. for inspiration from the Heavens), changing light bulbs on the marble chandeliers at the Mansions etc.
Thanks to a few of you for suggesting that it might be BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo - i.e. you get dizzy when you move your head in a certain way). Yep, you were right. And so followed tortuous efforts to get an appointment with my local WSM GP surgery to get it sorted via the Epley Manoeuvre - a precise procedure to confirm and resolve the condition.
After 2 weeks of mainly telephone contact with my local (UK) GP Surgery (Practice name not mentioned for obvious reasons..), various GPs scratching their heads and telling me 'they didn't really know how to perform 'Epley' / unsure that any Practice Nurses there could either / it would take a week to refer me to the local hospital ENT Department' etc, I lost-the-will to pursue things and decided to escape to my sister's place in Dorset for a break and to do some DIY projects - but with the dizziness still hanging around. Ladders..? Working at Heights...? Ohh Nooo..!
Whilst in Dorset, Sis suggested popping in to her local Medical Practice on the off-chance that someone there could advise. We 'rocked-up' there (whatever that means)with no appointment, and also my NOT being a registered patient there. Prospect of Result? Mmmm... sceptical to say the least.
Now, what do you make of this..?
On presenting myself / my symptoms and asking if anyone there knew about BPPV / Epley, the friendly and helpful receptionist immediately networked it out vie e.mail to the various GPs on duty and asked me to wait 5 minutes. Literally 5 minutes later, I was given a consultation with a truly brilliant, young male (not that that matters) Dr W. who greeted me with a smile (and even stood-up to shake my hand!), made welcoming comments, had an attentive style, and asked me for a brief run-down on my medical history (since he didn't know me from Adam) as a pre-cursor to the consultation. I summarised my health story, mentioned my PMR / current progress, and more important, the BPPV - and my prior knowledge of it due to my involvement here. He wasn't phased by this at all.
Dr W. immediately explained BPPV in Plain English and said "Let's do the Epley Manoeuvre and see which side of your head / ear is causing the problem". 15 minutes later after an expertly performed Epley sequence of head positioning, lying on my side, inducing SCARY(Woooo-hooo!) Dizziness etc, and with some laughs in between (e.g. "try not to fall-off the bench, Mr Benjamin, you'll be ok"), he conclusively diagnosed BPPV - and gave me advice about what would follow (i.e. let it settle down, don't drive immediately etc). He also recommended a referral from my usual GP for a Head Scan on the hopefully miniscule chance that the cause might be something less benign. With that, a smile, handshake and Goodbye.
If I could give a GP and their Practice a Client / Patient Satisfaction rating for the usual criteria like Speed of Response, Friendliness, Expertise, Patient-Care etc. this one would rate 11/10 on all counts. A very Satisfied (and relieved) MB after many Hassles, Disappointments and Vagaries in dealing with my local GP Practice over the years.
1. GP Surgeries vary immensely in terms of their resources to handle non-urgent Patient presentations and allocate appointments. Some poor, some excellent, and everything in between. But we probably know the reasons why.
2. A 'good' or 'poor' GP in terms of Expertise and / or a Patient-Centred approach can be regardless of age, gender, nationality or experience.
3. There are some Brilliant GPs (and Rheumies) out there. If you are struggling with yours (for whatever reason) it's worth shopping around to find one - as I did by accident today.
That's it.. only to say that my Faith in the NHS was more-than restored today after a truly exceptional Patient Experience in more ways than one.
Hope this helps some of You Lot in the UK who have the same dilemma around GPs / GP Practices and the often elusive concept of Patient Service Quality.
And, as always, try to keep smiling on the PMR / GCA Journey