Complaint about my GP

I am going privately to get my hypothyroidism sorted out. I have been diagnosed privately and the specialist has wrote a letter to my GP saying that I have an overwhelming amount of symptoms that need to be treated. My GP won't treat me. I have written a complaint to my GP because she has told me that she will not treat me until my TSH is above 10, in that case I will be very ill and overweight. I had a TSH of 5.09 when I decided to go private. Can my GP do this? She keeps telling me that she is adherring to guidelines. Is this correct?

13 Replies

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  • Unfortunately she is, current guidelines state a tsh of 10 or over is classed as hypothyroidism however doctors are still allowed to use their own knowledge and discretion but you seem to have found youself one who rigidly sticks to guidelines disgusting really but the only other option is to find a gp who is willing to use their own brain. Other countries have a much lower cut off point in tsh and the uk should really follow suit but their very narrow minded

  • Even adhering to guidelines is not a universal excuse for non-treatment.

    She has to take responsibility for choosing which guidelines to follow, if any. She has the legal right to decide to follow any apparently rationally derived guidelines but she still has to stand up and be counted.

    "But Officer, I was obeying the Highway Code when I knocked him down." - is not sufficient to get a driver off the hook of knocking someone down. If the code does not prescribe how to avoid knocking someone down in a particular set of circumstances, you have to decide for yourself.

    Further, if she is following the RCP guidelines, then she first has to prove that you are suffering from PRIMARY hypothyroidism as those guidelines only cover that. If you are suffering from any other form (e.g. secondary or tertiary) they do not apply.

    I do not know anything about the process of making a formal complaint but I suggest that you try to get some help from other parties - not sure who to suggest. Hopefully someone else will chime in.

    Rod

  • guidelines are there to guide. A dr dont have to follow them. She has to be accountable whatever treatment or guidlines she is following. She can follow American guidelines if she wants. I had a TSH of 10 and couldent get out of bed.You should weite to you GP and explain the suffering she is putting you through.

    Roslinxx

  • Thanks for all the advice. I have put it in writing and included my symptoms (theres about 70!). I haven't been able to work for 10 months. No reply yet. Been waiting nearly a month! So the GP is quick to SAY that she won't treat me with medication, but slow to put it in writing.

  • This is from the NHS Choices website:

    GP complaints

    If you disagree with the way your GP wants to treat you, or you're unhappy about the service provided by your GP surgery, tell them openly.

    However, if you feel unable to do so or you're unhappy with the response you receive, you may wish to make a complaint.

    All GP surgeries should have a written complaints procedure, and you will find this at reception or on the practice website.

    As a first step, speak to the practice manager. You can also complain to the practice in writing, or by email.

    If this doesn't resolve the problem, or you'd rather not raise the issue directly with the practice, you can complain to NHS England.

    Find out more about how to complain in the NHS complaints procedure. nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Right...

    If you've waited a month, I think it may be time to step it up!

  • Just a personal view NK, but realistically even if you can lever a reluctant GP into acting it seems unlikely to amount to an effective working relationship.

    Better in my experience to move on to another more right minded doc that's likely to help.

    It's at one level important to complain, but it's so often (can't speak for the NHS or the UK) the case when dealing with regulated service providers that the bar is set so high in terms of standard of proof and the sheer quantity of time and input required of the complainant that it's questionable whether it's worth it. Especially on what is often a less than level playing field.

    Not sure what the NHS permits in terms of changing doctors (but it'd be a travesty if patients were locked into specific doctors), and it's not ideal (ill patients are not necessarily in a position to handle this sort of stuff) - but if patients not receiving acceptable service immediately walk then presumably the financial consequence has to have some impact.

    If not then the system seems most unlikely in these bottom line oriented times to function to a decent standard.

    It strikes me that a little digging on the matter of how the system manages service quality and professional standards would likely throw up some fairly major anomalies. Is the profession entirely self regulated on medical matters? Just who speaks for the patient in this situation?

    ian

  • I am an ex nurse and about 23 years ago I diagnosed myself 5 years before my GP would listen to me and do anything because my levels were within the then" normal" parameters. I had to virtually crawl into the surgery and broke down in tears when my levels were down at the low end the scale and he finally said I was probably hypothyroid. It was probably triggered by pregnancy I now know. He sent me to a specialist - what a waste of time - I will never forget what he said.... I was a typical " worried well" and to come back when I had developed coeliac disease!!! I was totally disgusted and have had to spend the past 20 years and spending thousands privately ( which I can't afford ) . I have a good GP but he is reluctant to write a prescription for dessicated thyroid so I am still paying privately. I can't take Levo due to the side effects and don't convert to T3 well anyway so what choice do I have? None. I can't understand why the NHS is treating thyroid patients to badly. I am still not well and feel like a one-woman army on this - I am now 59. Not being treated correctly has meant I have lost 20 years of my life feeling ill. I don't know what feeling well is like. Find a sympathetic doctor by all means ( at least you can get regular blood tests ), but you may still have to go to Thyroid UK and look at their list of doctors who do understand how to treat, and pay privately. You can't even get a saliva test for adrenal fatigue on the NHS - they cost about £70. Good luck.

  • She is failing to listen to clinical symptoms, mention is made of this in the GMC Guide for doctors, available online to read. In my experience GPs stick together.

    I made a formal complaint to the Practice Manager about the 3 GPs who failed to diagnose me with hypo, leaving me extremely ill. They replied stating they did not miss a diagnosis and there was nothing wrong with my thyroid. They claimed TSH had to be over 10 to indicate hypothyroidism.

    My 4 page reply ripped their rebuttal to shreds as I'd got my blood tests which clearly showed that things weren't right. My final sentence was that I'd seen an NHS Endocronologist who diagnosed hypothyroidism. Now they claimed they've been advised not to reply.

    Currently preparing my case for the Ombudsman and the GMC.

    If I were you I would write instead to the Practice Manager mentioning that you've not received a reply to your complaint. Again state how you are suffering and this GP is not helping you to regain your health.

    Good luck and don't let them get away with it.

  • Good luck with your high level complaint CG :) Should shake up a few complacent GPs !

    Sticking together means they hang together- but at least they've got each other for company unlike many of us.

  • You can complain all you like, but doing it the "right way" generates a lot of paper, and from my experience of complaints under the NHS that paper never helped any of my conditions.

    Nothing wrong wrong with doing it after you dump them, (it might even make you feel good!) but you need a willing Doctor to really get anywhere, or self treat which of course is not for everyone either :-(

  • Sorry to hear that you’re having issues with your NHS G.P I really do sympathise.

    They can be so awful - and so arrogant.

    I’m rushed for time right now so cant write a long post but in my case all my friends keep saying “what IS WRONG with your doctors?!” “why are they leaving you like this?”

    I’m glad you found a good private Consultant though as that can be difficult to achieve.

    I’m currently looking for one as the 2 good recommendations I got don’t actually practice privately only NHS & as I’m out of the area for their hospital I cant see them at the moment as G.P. wont refer me…

    If you don’t mind could you PM me the name of your Consultant?

    Good luck with your struggle I hope you get the help you need however in my experience making ‘formal complaints’ never works out well for ‘us ‘the patents it’s a long paper trail, with no proper answers or apologies at the end of it the end result is just a waste of vital energy.

    & I say that from personal experience regarding prior very serious issues.

    That is why I now focus on finding the ‘right’ doctors who will listen & treat - for all my medical issues.

    I have no insurance & can’t afford to go private but the NHS is giving me no choice as I want to get well.

    Best wishes,

  • I got a reply from my GP. She said;

    'As a practice we follow guidance published by The Royal College of Physicians. This guidance is supported by the Medicine Management team of the local Commissing Group and advises that your blood test results are not consistent with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism at this time. For such reason prescribing of thyroxine in these circumstances would be considered as off license and as such we would be unable to prescribe thyroxine medication'

    My TSH was 5.09.

    She also lied in the letter, as I complained about the GP telling me to 'change GPs' when I asked her to prescribe my medication. She said she never said this and that it was me wanting to change GPs. I wish I recorded that conversation! I did have her on speaker phone and my parents heard her say that.

    Anyway I emailed the RCP. This was there response;

    'We believe, based on current knowledge and evidence, that our statement represents a reliable consensus. It is not a guideline, and it is open to individual practitioners to follow other courses; but as far as we are concerned it is a statement based on current expertise.'

    RCP say it is not a guideline. GP is saying she's following RCPs guidance. In the email the RCP also say I could change GPs, but GP says that 'this (RCP's) guidance is supported by the Medicine Management team of the local Commissing Group'. That means no GP in my area then would prescribe me with thyroxine!

  • I understand your position Neeta-K, I am in exactly the same position as regards being diagnosed privately with very clear and overwhelming symptoms of Hypothyrodism. My GP completely not interested, and refused point blank to prescribe medication, because my out of date bloods were 'normal'. I explained that I had been diagnosed on my many symptoms and he just shrugged, like he had never heard of this approach. When I went back and showed him my private script for Levothyroxine he changed his stance and said it was a great idea! To me, that is not a doctor but a robot, afraid to act in the best interest of a long suffering patient.

    I have never made a complaint about the horrific treatment (or lack of) I have received from the NHS over the years because I have found it to be rotten to the core, with files going 'missing', being lied to on a regular basis and shocking standards of care. However, good on you for taking a stand! More power to you and I wish you all the best.

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