Elusive Doctors: Has anybody seen a Doctor... - Vasculitis UK

Vasculitis UK

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Elusive Doctors

valwood profile image
34 Replies

Has anybody seen a Doctor since pre Covid , not even getting phone calls now.

34 Replies
PMRpro profile image

I am greatly intrigued by this lack of f2f contact with doctors in the UK and it is reinforcing my decision to stay here in northern Italy where I see my GP f2f the day I want to - turn up and wait - can phone her directly to ask for prescriptions or advice and have even seen my rheumy more in the last 9 months than ever before! I even get dental appointments within a couple of days - and did so throughout Covid after the first month until they got their approach sorted out. Granted he is private and pricey - but absolutely superb at what he does.

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to PMRpro

Glad you are getting good healthcare, not sure why we are in this situation, think they possibly over reacted to Covid. I heard stories of where they closed the hospital down to treat Covid and only had a maximum of 20 at any one time. Staff were going into work and not doing much. Your better off in Italy, think it will take years to sort out the NHS, dedicated staff are walking away, as an ex nurse I would do as well after the insulting pay rise.

PMRpro profile image
PMRpro in reply to valwood

I'd encourage my 2 (a nurse and a paramedic working in the ED) to go anywhere else. They are utterly exhausted - the nurse is doing agency work to catch up the endoscopy waiting lists and they have all just been fired and rehired to make more money for the private side. However - the doctors who do the sessions have all said sod that for a game of conkers and without the doctors, they can't run the sessions ...

KASHMIRI1 profile image
KASHMIRI1 in reply to PMRpro

l have had a very similar experience here in the UK right from the start of covid. Fantastic gp practise etc

PMRpro profile image
PMRpro in reply to KASHMIRI1

The nurse daughter has a very good practice in Scotland, the paramedic one has an adequate one but others I know have had appalling experiences. It seems to be luck of the draw. And the ED daughter says all she hears from patients coming in to the ED, often quite poorly by that stage,, is "I couldn't get to see my GP"

KASHMIRI1 profile image
KASHMIRI1 in reply to PMRpro

You are so right. I have felt so lucky since my May 2020 GCA diagnosis. It. It really couldn't have been better.

DorsetLady profile image

Fast becoming an endangered species! 😳

artists profile image

Yes l have had rituximab and face to face appointments over the past year . Before that it was generally by video , although an odd face to face when l had problems .

artists profile image

Sorry do you mean a GP ? My husband has when he had cheat infection .

Blue_feather profile image

2 years ago in June. Missed last year's appt through misunderstanding and had a video call with my rheumy this June.

Varp profile image

I've got f2f with rheumy later this month. Two phone calls during covid. No f2f with GP since lockdown, but I do see the nurse at the surgery monthly for my blood tests and have done all the time.

Main1234 profile image

Hi my OH has had all his appointments face to face and we have had an excellent service from the specialist nurses and consultants.

We feel very lucky as I know others have not.

He has his bloods taken monthly at the hospital and RTX 6 monthly .

The only slight niggle is I’m not able to attend appointments with him.

Nadine99 profile image
Nadine99 in reply to Main1234

I have been to all my husband's appointments, I am his carer, they cannot stop you (well, they can if you let them)

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to Main1234

Which hospital is your husband at?

Main1234 profile image
Main1234 in reply to valwood

We live in the West Midlands

Nadine99 profile image

We have had a mixture of telephone appointments and f2f. You have to be proactive now and chase them. You may not like it but that's just the way of it at the moment.

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to Nadine99

Fed up of doing that. I.now planning on self treating and slowly stopping medication. I think I might feel better then.

AliDeJ profile image

Yes. My Dr is lovely. Like most surgeries these days we apply online and are able to type our problems out, and any relevant history or questions, in full. We then get a telephone appointment and very often the Dr follows that up with a face to face appointment. I feel very well served here in NW London.

OldTed60 profile image

I am in Scotland - where allegedly it’s just as bad with many GPs and other doctors having taken early retirement. My last GP practice was terrible and I didn’t see a GP for at least 18 months. When they phoned they were all unhelpful and insensitive - considering how very unwell I was. I ended up calling paramedics 3 times during the pandemic.

Then we relocated and I used this as an opportunity to move to the only other practice in my area - brilliant decision😅. I’ve been seen in person by them 5 times in a year - which is fine because most of my issues can be discussed or resolved over the phone. All but one of the 3 I’ve seen have been great.

I had my last infusions a month ago and was opposite a GP who was getting her biologic for Crohn’s. She told me that she and her colleagues work a 12 hour day and see patients all the time. She said this issue has caught fire amongst the general population and she feels it’s been mythologised now. She said yes many have left and they are always very understaffed - and all are part time in my practice as well as hers. This is to avoid burn out. She had heard bad things about my old practice too.

One patient she’d had in the previous day had said to her “so when are you going to start seeing patients face to face again as normal then?”. She wanted to say “you daft goose - you’re in here with me aren’t you?!” But instead she said politely that they are seeing as many patients face to face who want and need to be seen. Given she’s CEV too and has been working throughout and managed not to get Covid - I thought she was rather amazing. And from her I got confirmation that it’s very much about the individual practice, hospital and consultant.

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to OldTed60

I haven’t seen a doctor in over 3 years.

OldTed60 profile image
OldTed60 in reply to valwood

If I’d stayed with awful old GP practice I wouldn’t have either. But new ones have better GPs and a different, much better system. EG I can email pics of a rash or swollen hand or request copy of a letter or blood test results and the admin will email me with these and a friendly “Good morning - here are the blood results and letter you requested” with PDFs. With the old one I had to get past a queuing system and a nasty receptionist who triaged all patients and extracting copies of bloods and letters was always hard and involved collecting a hard copy from reception as no email.

I think it varies hugely from practice to practice due to all operating as independent businesses subcontracted by the NHS. Sorry you’ve landed such a lemon. Assuming you’ve tried your hardest to be seen - can you cut straight to your consultant or complain about the practice through Care Opinion perhaps?

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to OldTed60

Unfortunately can’t get through to specialist either, they have been ignoring my messages since last March and it’s impossible to get through on the phone. You have to leave name and phone number and a short message and they say they will phone back- just not which century.

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to OldTed60

Haven’t seen a specialist in over 3 years, I did have phone calls but as I’m deaf it was a waste of time. So now NO phone calls, no face to face, absolutely nothing!

OldTed60 profile image
OldTed60 in reply to valwood

Sounds dire. Depending on whereabouts you live you could perhaps contact your area complaints and ask what is happening and why.

Investigator1 profile image

Hi valwood. GP or Consultant? Let me answer both. In the case of my GP, only once when I had severe tummy pains (caused by Azathioprine) otherwise practice nurse taking bloods and health check. See my consultant in person every 3 months during height of pandemic and now every 6 months with consultation phone calls in between. Hope this helps. Nick.

ErnieP1960 profile image

HiSaw my rheumatologist face to face in July for six monthly check up at James Cook hospital. Over the last few years these appointments have been mostly face to face with one phone consultation. I was happy with this as nothing had changed and I wasn’t the keen to go into a busy hospital anyway.

Had a skin issue last month and got a same day appointment at my GPS surgery without any problems.

Tbrz profile image

I agree, I’ve also not seen anyone since Covid. I had 2 telephone consultations at the start, but that has been it.

valwood profile image
valwood in reply to Tbrz

it seems to be getting worse.

Derek profile image

Hi valwood, in my opinion it would seem there is a postcode lottery, perhaps even within districts of a city or town. I have CSS (EGPA) associated with late onset asthma and have regular checks with my hospital consultant and also text messages from our surgery advising when l need my annual asthma check up, which l complete on line and, depending on my answers, may be advised to book an appointment. Personally l can’t fault the the care l get through the NHS.

Joanbill13 profile image

Yes lots of times no problems.

orthotist profile image

Yes I live in belbroughton and have seen general doctor also rheumatologist at kidderminster . Maybe different where you are .try going to doctors in person to make appointments ,works better for me

zoe69 profile image

I have seen my rheumatologist only f2f once, but had regular phone consultations. I am seeing at the pain clinic regularly. I have not seen my GP for a while, but I haven't needed to be seen either.

In general though many patients complain about not seeing their doctors f2f and the difficulty seeing their GP.

Hopingsail profile image

Not seen f2f for over 2 years - couple of phone calls which are so depersonalised. What happened to the concept of treating the whole person? Thanks goodness for this Forum where good advice and warmth is so readily shared! 😊

ZiggyDiego profile image

Yes. I book myself in with GP for telephone appt for meds review etc every month or so. It has been v helpful to sort out problems with anaemia, gallbladder, bladder, physio. I’ve been going to hospital for rituximab, MRI scans, blood tests, eye checks & lung function tests. My GPA never really lets up so I keep in touch via online messaging & phone calls. I’d love to have a year off but I can’t imagine it now.

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