Post-Dr GRB Skinner: here’s one way forward

In consultations with Dr S he always sought the same clinical information

from his patients to be able to assess their current status. We should try to encourage our GPs by giving them this same information in the hope that they will one day realise, for themselves, that something is wrong with their system.

Here’s what happens in the consulting rooms of a real doctor: on a symptom check-list, the patient, whilst still in the waiting room, highlights those symptoms still outstanding. Then, when more relaxed in his consulting room Dr S would take the patient’s pulse. He did, after all, need to know the speed of the heart as this affects oxygen uptake, body temperature, brain activity, etc. and a slow heart beat reduces all this activity. He also recorded temperature, blood pressure, and checked the state of the patient’s tongue.

Not a single one of a whole string of GPs has ever noted this basic information. At most I have had my BP taken. You must have noticed how very carefully they never ask how you are. I had one who, on being shown my symptom list, stated, “Well, there is clearly something wrong but it is NOT your thyroid. We will have to do lots of tests!” Regretfully, I didn’t have enough energy for her lots of tests. I always try to remember that vital statistic: “most GPs are average”. Please repeat this out loud! In fact some of them are below average because the blood test results often come back with the instruction from the lab.technician: “Tell the patient the result is normal”. Your GP is not allowed to think for him/herself.

I thought we should follow Dr Skinner’s format when visiting a GP and present them with a high-lighted symptom list which, next to name/date, includes a space for the vital signs to be entered, then specifically ask for these measurements to be taken. We should also have a second copy for our own records on which to enter our vital signs right there in front of them. At the very least, our medical records would have valid information against which to compare on subsequent visits. Surely this is something a doctor would need. Perhaps it would shame them into behaving like real doctors. My copy of the symptom list will have ‘GRBS’ at the bottom!

Remember to remove your coat in the waiting room in an effort to balance your temperature with the surroundings; breathe deeply, stay calm and smile. This is passive aggression.

In the meantime . . . I need a new GP (south-west corner of Birmingham B31) and a new consultant. Any suggestions? I have six weeks’ medication left.

5 Replies

  • My experience is that GPs are only interested in an easy life, as can be seen by the number of hypo patients being told they're depressed, myself included.

    The fact that I disagreed with GP's dustbin diagnosis of depression meant that his ego took a battering so my fate was sealed, ie he did NOTHING to help me regain my health.

    I avoid them at all costs and manage my own health.

  • In theory your idea is good but in reality I can see 'INRATS' being shouted at the poor patient!!!

    Additionally cold hands, bloated body and lack of eyebrows are further signs. These can be checked without using equipment! It's really not difficult for a GP but they prefer to not look at us at all.

  • Hi LuckyLegs, I do so like with your hypothesis, but I'm afraid I agree with cinnamon-girl. If you're not tossed under the depression umbrella then you go under the ME/CFS umbrella - sometimes it's both. It wasn't until my husband died and I acquired his notes that I noticed that the GP had written "Mr. Bull came to me complaining of depression" - what absolute tosh! Despite all his ills there never was a more positive and less depressed person than my husband. The truth was the GP didn't know how to diagnose or treat him, or for that matter my daughter either.

    I do so wish that GP's would listen to us, but sadly in too many cases they want an easy life to go along with their more then adequate salary.

    We have found that in order to make my daughter well we too have had to take charge of her health ourselves.

    Jane x

  • Is depression the only thing they are allowed to diagnose themselves? maybe CFS/ME too (everything else requires blood tests to be way out of line) x

    last time I went it was the usual 'depression', I said OK do you have a blood test for that then? (TSH 4.59 normal)

  • There are some good GPs out there - but I think you have to be firm with them from the outset, always see the same one in a group practice, never accept anti-depressants or referrals for symptoms of hypothyroidism (except to endos) and keep yourself well as much as you can. Tell fibs (eg took meds before test, took wrong dose by mistake etc) if test results suggest you need to reduce dose while you feel well, ask for repeat tests without dose change rather than reduce dose if feeling well, after all mistakes can happen. If dose change is insisted on make another appointment straight away if you start to decline, and another, and another etc until they agree to dose increase. Or just increase it yourself and make an appointment to show them how well you are afterwards. It's sad that this is necessary but at least we can use this site for support ...

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