"My mother won't go back to her GP"

About: Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT

(as a relative),

Yesterday I was chatting to my Mum, who is in her seventies and lives alone. She has been complaining - in her very gentle way - about her GP's attitude for some time. On this occasion, some of the things she said really concerned me. My mother can hardly walk because of severe pain in her leg - the cause of which has never been properly diagnosed. She also suffers from macular degeneration and has impaired vision.

On her last visit to the doctor, my mother asked politely whether it would be possible for her to be prescribed the gel painkillers on which she has come to rely. At the moment she buys them from the chemist. They are very expensive and she has to exist on the basic state pension topped up with supplementary benefit. The barked response from the GP, made without looking up, was: 'try Lidl'. Quite apart from striking me as a extremely rude and inappropriate response, this suggestion is useless because my mother is disabled and could not possibly travel to the nearest Lidl, which is some distance from her home. It worries me that a GP seems to be so ignorant of what it is like to live with limited mobility and vision, let alone money.

Another doctor at the same practice had apparently already told my mother that she had 'made him look a right wally' by asking him to prescribe some eye drops (she had been given them before, by Moorfields Eye Hospital) which were apparently inappropriate for her condition. Again, this is not the sort of language which I expect an educated professional to use to any patient, let alone a gentle lady in her seventies.

At one point my sister visited the practice with my mother in the hope that she might be able to explain the situation a little more clearly. On this occasion, the doctor did spend longer with my mother than the usual five minutes and even took some notes. We hoped that things might improve. However, on my mother's next solo visit, things had returned to their usual surly and peremptory norm. 'You've been busy this morning!' my mother remarked pleasantly. 'Yes, well sometimes people take a long time. LIKE YOU DID LAST WEEK,' came the caustic reply.

I am confident that my mother is never rude or unpleasant to deal with and I am most concerned that she is now unwilling to visit her practice again as she is in severe pain and requires a good relationship with her doctor. She wishes to move to another practice but unfortunately it seems that there is no other in her catchment area. Until such time as the catchment rule is changed, she appears to be stuck with a group of individuals who have given us the impression that they have no interest in her welfare.

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