Just a moan to let off steam about my GP practice

I feel I will burst if I don't let off steam :-( Please can I have a moan?

Having waited over four weeks for a GP appt at which I was told he didn't know what to do for my symptoms as I was "in the normal range" and probably even "over-treated" (because I refuse to relinquish my liothyronine!), I then waited two weeks for a blood test today, even though had I been given the bloods envelope I could have gone to the local hospital and had it done straight away. At 8.10 today I had a phone call from the practice - then whilst on the phone another person from the practice rang on the other phone to tell me the same thing - that the nurse had phoned in sick so no blood test, but not to worry as I could have another appointment on 28th April .......... WHAT THE .......

I asked instead for a bloods envelope to go to the hospital (never mind the petrol and the extortionate parking fee there!) and guess what, it will take until Monday before I can pick it up!

So whilst she was on the phone I asked what blood tests had been ordered as I'd been unwell and upset at my appt and had forgotten to ask the GP. Well, she said, you're having a blood test. Yes, but testing what? The blood .... Yes but what, exactly? Don't you know, she asked. No, that's why I'm asking you to check on the computer. Several minutes passed. Oh said she, I can't pronounce these longs words ......

If being hypo isn't enough we have to battle GPs and their staff. Gawd 'elp us.

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30 Replies

  • No wonder you need to have a moan. You couldn't make that lot up even if you tried! Good luck for Monday. Let's hope whatever they find wrong with you doesn't have a long name :-)

  • Thank you, Fruitandnutcase. Ha Ha ;-)

    I've been a life long pacifist but .............

  • You start to understand why they need those notices telling people not to be rude to the staff. Some things must make even the mildest of people lose their grip on life ....

    I had to wait a couple of weeks before I could get my last blood test done and I made a throwaway comment about 'needing to clone Mavis the phlebotomist' I got the funniest look then has to explain that if they cloned her they would have two of her to do the work and the wait would be shorter. I wasn't sure if that was classed as 'insulting / offensive behaviour or not.

    Keep smiling, hopefully things will be better when you get to the hospital.

  • I know exactly what you mean. Its as though its considered that the staff are likely to engender rudeness in the patients, by their attitude. I don't have such a sign for my clients as by and large I'm nice and supportive to them. Perhaps I should put up a warning that clients are likely to be treated with compassion and warmth and that therefore overt expressions of gratitude will not be tolerated, and that in such cases a box of fudge brownies is acceptable ........

    I was a non-Exec Director on the board of my Health Authority for nearly 5 years and one role was to carry out annual "inspections" of GP practices. That was when I learnt the truth of the saying that some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing and that not everyone in the caring professions is a caring professional. Then I went on the Board of several local health Trusts and had even closer involvement in the workings of GP practices, and more or less lost hope all together.

  • Bless you. This sounds like my surgery. Every time I organise an nhs blood test I have to keep reminding myself how much money it's saving me. It can take a month or so - 10-14 days to get the appt with the gp to ask for the test, then another 10-14 days to get the appt for the blood draw, then another week for results, though the tft results can come in sooner (but of course I have to ask the receptionist to ask the doc's permission for a printout so that takes a little time too). Halfway through the process I remember that I could just have got straight on the tube to Oxford Circus and had my results the next day.

    If I won the lottery I wouldn't be bothered about buying a Caribbean island or a private plane, but I'd be over the moon if I had enough money to cover all my private testing and a private doc who speaks to me like I'm not a pain in the a**e. If there's any left over I'd like to be able to take a taxi whenever I want. :-)

  • Way to go, puncturedbicycle. Bring on the lottery money. We have such simple needs don't we? When my win arrives I'm flying out to see that US Dr who gives his unable-to-lose weight hypo patients two particular daily injections, and lo, many of them can eat normally again. Even without the injections I'd go to him as he accepts & believes that some hypo patients can eat only 500 cals per day yet still gain weight. You've got to love him. ;-)

  • Ooh, who is he? I'm in the US later this month. And I'm on the lookout for another doc. :-)

    Is this the hcg diet?

  • "a combination of Wellbutrin and low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is having some surprisingly good results".

    You can get the full article and info here, then track him to his website. He has clinics in various places: thyroid.about.com/od/losewe...

    Have you any experience of the HCG diet puncturedbicycle?

  • No! It is 500 calories a day! Not for me I'm afraid. :-) I just had a quick google and came across it but after I posted I realised that it couldn't be the one you're talking about based on your comment, duh.

    I've been on Wellbutrin and I may be getting it mixed up with venlafaxine but one of them is the one which made me unable to sleep properly for weeks. I was on antidepressants for so long, it would take a big leap of faith to go back on them.

    I'm going to have a look at that site...

  • Wow, what a fantastic article. California is too far for me to go but I'm very impressed with this doctor. It will be a bit overmedicalised for some but I'm just overjoyed to see someone addressing weight and hypo.

    I've been lucky; I had some weight gain with dx but not too bad, maybe one or two dress sizes. I have a husband who loves me so it is less distressing perhaps than it might have been when I was single and looking. Mainly I'm concerned with the health issues that can come from being overweight - joint problems, cancer, diabetes, etc - and I'd quite like to lose two stone just to reduce my health risks.

  • There are also clinics in Georgia, Philadelphia and Utah if any of those would be more accessible (my geography is iffy!)

  • Philly works. I'm going to send to my mum too. Thanks for that! x

  • I ask to speak to doc on phone, may take up to 4 days for call back. I then call at surgery 2 days later to collect bloods form and go down to local hospital next morning, no appointment, for bloods then wait a week for results to be back with GP and phone for results and next day go in to reception to pick up a copy and if necessary make appointment for another GP phone call. All of this supposes you have time and energy to do all of this. I'm retired and I like to get out for a walk and patience is something I don't have!!

  • I book my GP appointment at a time to suit me and then book a mobile phlebotomist to come to me at 8.00am before I go to work. She's been this morning and I see the GP next Wednesday.

    I consider it £20 well spent, because the alternative is to travel 40 minutes across the City to arrive at teh hospital for 7.00am and queue until 8.00am when they open.

    Someone advised me that the GP surgeries that support your local universities have more funding than others, so we moved, and certainly notice the difference in service.

  • Interesting. How do you find out which local surgeries are affiliated with a university?

  • I Googled it in a cursory way and didn't find a register, but came up with one GP practice for example,whose website said "The practice is affiliated to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the University of Durham through the regional programme of both undergraduate and postgraduate training of qualified doctors. At times there may be medical students or young doctors working with us under close supervision. Of course you may opt not to see him/her. Their allocation to the practice indicates that we have had to exceed certain stringent standards to attain status as a teaching practice". So perhaps its a case of finding a practice you fancy registering with, then asking the question.

  • That's an excellent idea Ansteynomad.

    Does it mean a google search for a local mobile phlebotomist ,or is there a directory of them do you know?

  • I was told by a friend who holds a very senior position in one of our local universities. He was explaining why he does not use the surgery across the road from his house.

  • Geeeeeeez and I thought mine was bad! I have the usual and repeated conversation 'Have you got my test results please?' 'Yes they are all ok' 'Yes but could you tell me what they are?' 'Erm theres nothing to call you in for or the doctor would make a note on them' 'Could you let me have the actual results please?' The figures are then offered with a good degree of venom......

  • It's endemic then, jezebel169. Sorry to hear you have such a problem too.

  • I know it's not at all funny but I actually laughed when you said the results were offered with ' a good degree of venom' - I can just picture the scene. Our GP surgery is lovely but that absolutely sums up my former dentist's receptionist.

  • I don't know if it is because I found this site and became more aware. Or if it's my age but I have become more assertive lately.

    Yesterday I had a scan. I booked by phone and chose a local doctors surgery,thinking it was nearer saving time and parking money. It's a new place with all the latest equipment.

    Thank goodness it is not my GP's place of work,because I do like him and the staff there.

    I waited fifteen minutes to check in,the staff were floating around but no one wanted to man the desk,as time marched on I was losing my cool. I went up stairs and down again looking for the room I needed.

    Luckily all went well in the end but what a shower,I will stick to my lovely old place where the staff do respect people just wish they had a coffee machine.x

  • Annoyingly my recent blood tests, instead of being shown on the sheet, are in the form of a bar code now so I have no idea what was being ordered and forgot to ask at the time. Is the bar code a form of not having to tell you exactly what they've asked to be tested.

  • How annoying. (Someone's idea of efficiency perhaps?)

    Did you get clarification/interpretation of the results in the end?

  • I havent got the results yet, it was just the bar code telling the phlebotomist what to take blood for. I had no idea what so therefore could not say for example, can you make sure you test for this or that.

  • I can see lots of reasons for using a barcode - but not allowing you to know would most likely be an illegal reason. You do have the right of giving or denying informed consent - so they should only take blood if you consent, and your consent must be informed. (With obvious exceptions for the very young - parents should know, though - and those who are, for any reason, less able to follow.) Without you knowing what they are testing, you cannot be in the position of providing that consent.


  • This may be peculiar to this area, but when our local health authority closed the hospital in the middle of town (5 mins from the bus station) and built a shiny new one right on the outskirts, a number of the phlebotomists from the hospital spotted a gap in the market and went ‘private’.

  • Good old market forces in operation. :-)

  • My experience is so different. I call the surgery for my 6 monthly blood test and they ask when is it convenient for me. A few years ago, I had to go the cottage hospital ( a weeks wait) or small local hospital - same day or next day depending on time of call. The surgery has trained former receptionists which is wonderful as it does not involve a journey. Appointments are given immediately. All tests forwarded to lab by 11 am and as I obtain a copy of the test the date received and returned to the surgery electronically is on the form. Sometimes they are received at the surgery the same day - or at the latest the next day. I am always advised by the surgery to leave getting the results for three days as the GP has to study them.

    I sometimes think the problems are down to the management of the surgery. I would contact the Patients Participation Group if you are having problems to see if they can deal with it.

  • Thanks for your experiences Holby. It's great you get a better service. Your suggestion about the Patients Participation group is something I hadn't thought of, thank you, but you're right about surgery management. I think things went generally downhill when Practice Managers were created as I know from my days as Chairman of the Health Authority's GP complaints panel (complaints against GPs not by them!)

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