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To expect a GP to be good-mannered?

(71 Posts)
Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 16:18:46

I took myself off to see a GP this morning (my own is on a well-earned holiday) as I had had such a bad night with something that frequently happens - as soon as I lie down I get pain in the right side of my head, ear, face, tongue (which goes numb on one side)- and I also get akathisia (the feeling that you have to move your limbs). This is coupled with frequent giddiness during the day. I had been awake till 4 am with it last night, and was so fed up with it that I decided I should try and do something about it and rang the surgery for an appointment.

The GP I saw was offhand to the point of rudeness. He just sat and looked at me, so in the end I asked whether the small dose of dosulepin (an anti-depressant of which I take a very small dose) might be involved as a cause and he said that the akathisia could not possibly relate to my dosulepin - even though it is a known side-effect. He said the giddiness (combined with hot flushes) could not be hormonal (!).

I said that I was concerned about how these problems were impinging on my quality of life and that I would like to get to the bottom of it. He shrugged (yes - really) and said that patients were always wanting a diagnosis, but mostly that was not possible; and that all he could do was try some different drugs. I was not happy about throwing drugs at problems without having a clear diagnosis - all you get is the potential for more side-effects.

In the end he said he would refer me for a brain MRI - it was clear from his manner that he could not see any other way of getting me out of the door.

I find it amazing that he could be so rude and off-hand with someone whom he knows has recently recovered from a depressive illness. I was quite upset when I left the surgery - but am now just rather angry about it.

This man has a bit of a reputation for being off-hand, but because of various family professional connections, I had not expected to be on the receiving end. Were it not for these connections, I would make a complaint against him.


granjura Thu 06-Aug-15 16:38:14

Did you mention you had stopped taking your statins?

Not that it would make any difference to his attitude- seems to be a problem there.

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 16:39:49

I think you are mixing me up with someone else - I have never taken statins.

MiniMouse Thu 06-Aug-15 16:42:15

Of course you're not being unreasonable!! Patients want a diagnosis - what planet is he on? It may not be blindingly obvious what the diagnosis is, but that's why you visit your GP isn't it, to start the ball rolling? Is there no way you could alert the Practice Manager to his indifference?

flowers for you

granjura Thu 06-Aug-15 16:44:40

sorry luckygirl- it was rubylady- apologies.

Sometimes a straight diagnosis is not possible I'm afraid, but there is no excuse for not explaining this clearly.

harrigran Thu 06-Aug-15 16:56:58

URNBU to expect politeness but GPs see so many people who expect an instant diagnosis and a quick fix that it becomes unrealistic. Unfortunately at our age, aches, pains and twinges are a part of everyday life and sometimes we just have to live with them.

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 17:39:21

I realise that, and also that the problems I am having are not simple and there could be more than one diagnosis. I was not expecting an instant diagnosis, but some sensible discussion about the possibilities and how the problems might be managed. What I was not expecting was rudeness. He really was so offhand - I could hardly believe it.

NfkDumpling Thu 06-Aug-15 17:48:07

I think I may have been rather rude back! You are certainly not being unreasonable and perhaps he needs a refresher course in bedside manners / customer care.

And perhaps diagnosis?

Anne58 Thu 06-Aug-15 17:59:59

Did he examine you at all? Surely checking your blood pressure etc shouldn't be too much too ask?

I'm afraid that these days when confronted with that sort of stare from a professional once I have explained why I am there, I have become very good at just sitting, making polite eye contact, with a sort of neutral expression and waiting it out until they speak!

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 18:14:54

Examine me? - you must be joking phoenix.

celebgran Thu 06-Aug-15 18:17:58

Well done Phoenix
We have changed our doctors practice sadly they were unable to recruit. we doctors at old one and never saw same locum twice.

So far really like a young lady do for who is thorough to point of annoyance but that is good surely ? I have had chest pains she referred e for ECG was ok saw her today about pains side head, mentioned still got chest pains and she felt test was far more Important and has referred me to chest pain clinic? Also got have blood tests, she said ECG doesnt show everything,
Was helpful about pains in head also prescribed nasal spray I have lot catarrgh It really is tonic have good doctor.

Yes luckygirl he was rude, what on Earth did he become doctor for with that attitude.

soontobe Thu 06-Aug-15 18:18:00

Complain to the surgery.
My husband and I did that once about a doctor.
Others did too apparently.
She was no longer there after 6 months.

Our normal GP said that they were glad about the complaints from patients about a doctor if the doctor is not up to scratch, as it makes it easier for them to deal with the situation.

Ana Thu 06-Aug-15 18:24:42

Not so easy when there are family professional connections, as in this case.

I suppose all you can do, Luckygirl, is wait for your regular GP to return from holiday - at least you'll know to avoid this particular doctor in future! Sorry you've had such a bad experience when you were feeling low anyway.

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 18:25:01

I am not in a position to complain, as my family have professional connections with this practice and they would be put in an awkward situation - but they also know what this guy is like.

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 18:37:15

I have just looked on their website and there is a 6 page rant from this GP about how he does not believe in any cancer screening tests. He is of course entitled to his opinions, but I am not sure that this sort of info on their website is appropriate, without the opposite view being represented.

Thanks Ana.

peaches47 Thu 06-Aug-15 19:01:14

luckygirl This sort of treatment is appalling. My sympathies are with you and you must go back and demand to be examined. My little brother is a GP and he is overworked but this isn't how you should have been treated.

The health service in the UK needs a massive overhaul. But who has the political will to do it!

There are plenty of folk wasting time and so at the other end there are patients like you who feel, justifiably, inadequately heeded.

Go back. Breathe deeply. And start again. You owe it to yourself. x

durhamjen Thu 06-Aug-15 19:02:43

I think you should report this to the CCG, Lucky. Get a bolshy neighbour to direct the CCG's attention to the rant about cancer screening tests so they cannot connect it to your family if that's what you want.
I remember when my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer, the doctor at Durham hospital was going to send him home without any scans, even though the GP had sent him in thinking he had had a stroke/TIA.
When I reminded him of the possible diagnosis, he reluctantly sent him for a scan. An hour later he came back and sent him for another scan, and 4 days later he was being operated on in the RVI.
It could have been diagnosed a month earlier. Not that it would have made any difference to him. The doctor at Durham did not even tell us it was a tumour or cancer.
When this new blood test for pancreatic cancer is available, is that doctor going to deny patients the opportunity to be tested for it?

MiniMouse Thu 06-Aug-15 19:02:49

That sounds a bit odd hmm Offering information is one thing, even if it is one-sided, but to have a rant is quite another!

Wonder who offered him career advice at school? wink They're obviously in the wrong job, too grin

MiniMouse Thu 06-Aug-15 19:04:27

My post was in reply to Lucky - not sure what happened with the timing there!! blush

Tegan Thu 06-Aug-15 19:21:45

Gosh; wonder if it's a doctor that I worked for for a long time doing some locum work shock. Doctors like that really should be complained about; he's probably as awful to the people he works with as he is with his patients and shouldn't get away with it sad.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 06-Aug-15 20:04:56

I'm surprised he referred you for a brain scan. I would have thought he would have waited till your regular doc gets back from holiday.

Do you really think we still gave hormonal trouble at this stage of our lives? Perhaps he felt you were suffering from anxiety.

I'm surprised you thought you should get special treatment because of your "connections". confused

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 20:05:23

I usually avoid seeing him - I would use the drop-in centre at our nearest Asda if it was an emergency and only he was available at the surgery. But because the problems are complex, I thought it would be better to go to the surgery where my history is known.

I am not blind to the fact that it is very hard to diagnose these sorts of problems, especially in someone who has recently suffered from depression, but these symptoms are making my life very difficult and I would welcome a sensible discussion about it. My problems are generally thought to be migraine - but it is far too continuous for that to be a reasonable diagnosis in my opinion; and migraine treatments have not solved the problem.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 06-Aug-15 20:07:55

Did you get an all-clear from the heart clinic you attended a while back?

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-15 20:18:53

I was not expecting special treatment jingl, but thought that it might be embarrassing for him to be rude to me, given the connections. I would like him to treat everyone well.

I realise that the symptoms might potentially be caused by anxiety - I am not completely brainless! - but that should have been what the discussion was about - not rudeness.

I too was surprised that he referred me for a brain scan - particularly as he did not say why he thought that was appropriate. But it is an MRI and harmless - only harm is a waste of NHS money if it is not appropriate.

The heart clinic appointment was very helpful thank you, and isolated the problem as an electrical one, rather than a structural one. I was given appropriate treatment and have just tailed it off as advised - and so far, so good! The rhythm does still go haywire sometimes, but nothing serious and I now know how to stop it; and also what to do if it does not stop.

rosequartz Thu 06-Aug-15 20:21:58

I think it is reasonable to expect politeness and good manners and a better examination; it could be a trapped nerve somewhere, side effects from medication or any number of reasons which may require further examination. Perhaps it is a good thing he is sending you for a scan, even if it was just 'to get you out of the door'.

Some GPs can be abrupt to the point of rudeness and one wonders why they entered the profession in the first place.

The two oldest GPs in our practice have retired and the next oldest is due to retire soon and I am not looking forward to going to see any of the newer GPs in the practice.