"The unbelievable attitude of my GP"

About: Waltham Forest PCT

(as the patient),

Background information:

I had recently moved to London to start a new life but was going through a very emotionally difficult time which had been problematic on and off in my life for some years.

I finally plucked up the courage to visit my GP to ask for some advice. I was incredibly pleased that the doctor at this practice had shown great empathy and was pro active in referring me for an assessment to see what help could be offered.

The following week I moved just 2 minutes down the road which meant that I had to change my doctor’s surgery. I informed my GP and changed to The Allum Medical Centre and waited for my referral as instructed in a phone call from the NELFT team.

On a weekend in April I developed quite a severe throat infection. I made an appointment at the practice and saw the locum. I was quite happy with this doctor's treatment. They checked my throat, suggested that it was quite a nasty infection and was likely to be bacterial. They prescribed me penicillin and suggested the usual gargling with salt water and taking of pain killers.

I also asked if there was any way of chasing up my referral appointment from the previous GP. The doctor gave me a card with the NELFT number on and suggested I check that they had my referral. They said to let the surgery know if they had not received it or if there were any problems.

On calling the NELFT number on the card provided I was informed that there was no referral with my details recorded.

Four days later I was unable to attend work as the pain from my throat infection was very severe and seemed to be spreading to my chest, I was unable to eat and found it difficult to sleep. I returned to the medical practice for an appointment with a different doctor.

The Complaint:

I informed the doctor of my throat and chest infection to which they replied in a very uncaring tone that they could see that from my notes. I explained that I was still in severe pain and had been taking paracetamol and ibuprofen but they didn’t seem to be helping with the pain.

The doctor then said "Oh, so you're a pill junky are you?". I replied, ‘No. ’ and couldn’t believe that a doctor could say such a thing in this situation.

They examined my throat for approximately half a second and said that it didn’t look bad and that they wouldn’t have even prescribed penicillin had I visited them first.

The doctor then accused me of having a low pain threshold, saying that given I was young they didn't know what was wrong with me.

I told them that I couldn’t afford to have time off of work that all I wanted were some stronger pain killers until the infection had cleared up and suggested that the doctor clearly couldn’t see everything that was going on in my throat/chest and that yes, people possibly do have different pain thresholds.

I told the doctor that two years ago when I had a similar problem due to constantly using my throat in my job that I was prescribed codeine for the pain.

The doctor replied by saying that I must be a 'codeine junky' and then just agreed to give me codeine.

I then explained about the appointment that I was waiting for and told the doctor that I had contacted the NELFT and there was no record of my referral. The doctor questioned why I even needed a referral and was interested in which doctor in Wanstead had referred me as there was ‘nothing wrong with me’. I had lost total confidence in this person as a professional doctor at this point and was not keen on going into detail with them.

They said that my records hadn’t arrived from my old practice yet and that it was my responsibility to ring them up and get them to send them to The Allum Medical Practice. I said that this was not my responsibility to do but for the medical practice to take care of.

Finally I asked, ‘So you’re not going to help me then? ’ The doctor said that they wouldn't do anything until they saw my records - and reiterated that I was responsible for getting them sent to this new practice. The doctor then looked at their computer screen and didn’t say another word, not even goodbye.

I left the medical centre feeling incredibly upset and insulted that a doctor could treat me in this way. I felt it was a complete abuse of their position.

I returned home and called up the NELFT on the original number that they had initially called me from and explained the situation. They called me back after speaking to my old practice and finding my original referral and made me an appointment.

I have since had an assessment and am awaiting a second assessment with an investigation into severe depression and a bi polar disorder.

I am absolutely disgusted in my treatment by the doctor. I have never been treated or spoken to by anyone like this before, let alone a doctor. I have had to complete my own referral due to their disinterest and I feel they have a disbelief in mental illness which prevents them from doing their job. Again, I believe this is a complete abuse of his position.

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