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Nurses and their help with Covid - please be careful!!

(17 Posts)
Corryanna Thu 06-Aug-20 17:53:52

If this is the wrong board, please tell me - I apologise in advance.
Last Wednesday (29/7/20) my GP asked me to ring him in a weeks' time regarding new pain meds he which he had prescribed for my degenerative disc disease condition. I phoned the Receptionist and told her Dr had asked me to make a phone appointment and (briefly) why. An hour later, I was grilled by a fast-speaking woman, whose name I couldn't make out after twice being told. She asked me Why did I want to speak to GP? I told her, you need these patches? Yes, and I think I may need a stronger dose; you are on 10mg she said (and we said together) "No, it's increased to 15mg" I continued "Dr wants to know how I'm doing" well, she said, you need to speak to him if you need a higher dose, and all the morning appointments are gone, it will be in the afternoon. Which number is best? (I was stressed now, looking for the piece of paper I had written my mobile no. on to speak to the receptionist in the first call, oh my goodness!") tried mob number from memory (got it right!) and that phone is best? "Yes!!" I'm nearly in tears by this point!
If there had been a packet of chocolate biscuits in the house I would have eaten the lot, but didn't cos there were none! So calories saved.
Dr phoned afternoon and was fine. Before he went I asked him was the chat I had with the woman who was quite abrupt with me, the normal way things were now and he said she was there to help them with their workload during COVID and would probably be the way with phone appointments from now on. I said I felt I was grilled by the nurse but would get used to it. Next step - phone him again next Thursday (ahhhhhhhh!! BP rise again!)
I will try to bypass her next week, as GP's instruction is to speak to him. Just be careful if you need a phone appointment in future!

welbeck Thu 06-Aug-20 18:02:17

sorry to hear that.
are you sure she was a nurse.
i've had a similar experience with a community pharmacist working in gp surgery.
anyway, when you manage to speak to doc again, try to mention that this person upset you by rushed imperative manner. explain your mental health is important too. and common courtesy goes a long way in patient care.

Sussexborn Thu 06-Aug-20 19:29:43

Unfortunately a nurse practitioner told my father in law that there was nothing wrong with him. Another who was abrupt and dismissive. He collapsed a few days later with faulty heart valves and needed emergency heart surgery. He survived but was never quite the same. I am sure that most nurse practitioners are responsible and cautious but those who overstep the mark should be made aware of the danger they put patients in.

growstuff Thu 06-Aug-20 19:43:58

I agree with the above posters. I'm not going to go into all the details, but I need a GP appointment and blood tests before the appointment. The receptionist tried to fob me off with a blood test/nurse practitioner appointment at the same time (ie before the results of the tests are known). I've just had a few heated words with the receptionist.

I really don't like the way GP practices are going. I've come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is look after my health and fitness as well as I can and search reliable sites for information. Unfortunately, I still need blood tests and, very rarely, some kind of treatment which I can't arrange myself.

Alexa Thu 06-Aug-20 19:58:25

Welbeck, I suspect you and I have experienced the same practice pharmacist!
it is scandalous the GPs delegate to someone who has poor language skills , or maybe the practice manager employed whoever spoke to you. If it happens again I think you might repeatedly ask her to speak slowly and clearly. It is absolutely the responsibility of the doctors to make sure their delegate is competent, and I do sympathise with you. Please let us know how you get on.

Corryanna Thu 06-Aug-20 20:11:04

I'm sorry to hear you've all gone through similar upsets too, but relieved I wasn't being over sensitive yet again. Welbeck, I mentioned to GP that the "woman" had given me a grilling and I could sense that he was not pleased. Next week I will tell the receptionist that I don't want to speak to a nurse as GP said go straight to him. If I do get a nurse, I will tell her the same. I foresee the NHS sadly going the same way as education is heading. People who can afford to go private, will do so and the gap between rich and poor will become wider and wider.

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

Shortly after my OH died a receptionist at he surgery reduced me to tears whilst refusing to allow me a phone appt with GP. I rang the next day and got someone else who did make me a phone appointment - for over 2 weeks hence.

grannysyb Fri 07-Aug-20 22:02:28

I was a receptionist many years ago, NEVER allowed to grill people or give medical advice. I have been given phone appointments recently and also seen the doctor following my chat with her, luckily the receptionists in my practice are reasonable to deal with.

welbeck Fri 07-Aug-20 23:29:47

i think part of the problem is that these people do not consider that they are not talking to someone who is at work.
they is a way of barking questions and rushing to complete something with a work colleague, even one in another service area/ employer which is not appropriate when speaking to patients.
it is supremely personal and often emotionally loaded for the patient. it is just another task for the worker. their emotions are likely to be annoyance, impatience !, too much to do, etc.
the patient may be feeling desperate, worried, anxious, helpless, waiting too long, feeling ignored.
so the worker's feelings are going towards the combative,
whereas the patients' are towards vulnerable, victim.
there is no balance of power.
we are like the pauper at the workhouse door, begging for admittance.
the gp is the gatekeeper to the nhs, and the receptionist is like the guard-dog cerberus to keep us from the gp.
the worker have some choice over their employment.
the patient has no choice in being a patient, no one would choose it.

geekesse Sat 08-Aug-20 00:39:05

I had a very unpleasant encounter with one of our two GP practice nurses. She was patronising and rude - after tut-tutting about slightly raised cholesterol (not high enough to need medication) she told me I needed to immediately go on a fat-free diet. I explained that I work a 55 hour week, and if I am to eat at all, I have to put up with whatever the work canteen offers. Her response was, “well, it will be your own fault when you drop dead from a heart attack”. I found both her manner and what she said offensive. The next time I had to make an appointment, I made it clear I wanted to see the other practice nurse, and told them why.

I clearly wasn’t the only dissatisfied customer. She left the practice shortly afterwards.

Blinko Sat 08-Aug-20 06:04:22

Some people are clearly in the wrong jobs. What a pity these GPs don't take the initiative and tell them to find another career. Back office services at our surgery were merged with four other local surgeries in the last year or so. Since then, I'm not at all sure what services are on offer any more. As for seeing the same doctor more than once, there's no chance.

Franbern Sat 08-Aug-20 09:04:03

Before I moved last year, I often used to see the Health Care Worker at my GP surgery for mundane check-ups etc. Sweet, young lady, very overweight. Now I know that I could well afford to lose about half a stone, but in my late 70.s found it difficult. I was quite amused when she (much younger and larger than me), gave me a long lecture on my weight and then a diet sheet that had I followed it would have made me pretty unwell.
She also used to see me when I had my frequent UTI's tested my urine to confirm I did have one, then get a prescription for anti-biotics signed by a Dr. After I had four of these in five weeks, each time very bad and increasingly resistant to ab.s. She did not refer me to a GP, and the only way I could by-pass her was to send in a letter giving full details, which did get me a hospital referral. This was fortunate, as it turned out these were being caused by a growth in my bladder,.
She was well meaning but reluctant to admit when she was out of her depth.
On the other hand the receptionists at this practice were the most helpful, sympathetic and wonderful people.

AGAA4 Sat 08-Aug-20 16:38:55

I have found the nurses at my doctor's surgery very good. It is always the case that some people are not good at their jobs but we shouldn't assume all are bad.
There have been some threads on here about poor teachers, policemen etc. The majority, I believe, do their best.

Niobe Sat 08-Aug-20 16:59:13

I was having trouble getting through to our GP’s surgery to make an appointment so I decided to go there and make one in person. The waiting room was full and the somewhat bossy receptionist asked me why I wanted an appointment. I looked at her for a few seconds and then asked her in a loud very polite voice “Are you really asking me ,in public, to explain why I need an appointment with a female doctor? “
She couldn’t give me the appointment fast enough!

Alexa Sun 09-Aug-20 08:50:31

Tesco communications by telephone could not be better.

The introductory message is spoken with faultless diction --for me even without my hearing aids. The personal advisor likewise, diction clear, low, and slow. And what these Tesco employees say is sympathetic , well informed , and helpful.

With all the unemployed people seeking good jobs I believe some practice managers , unlike Tesco, are either unable to select good commmunicators , or else they employ their friends and relatives.

Alexa Sun 09-Aug-20 08:58:34

Niobe, an example of a badly trained emplotee. The receptionist should have been instructed about proper forms of words. This is not hard to teach or learn for any employee of normal intelligence. I myself used to work in medical telecommunications where the private firm I worked for had all this written down for employees' use. As a matter or fact goodcommunications can be a matter of life or death.

If you phone 111 you find they ask questions according to a rational algorithm, and the initial receptionist at 111 has been trained to speak clearly and in a friendly manner.

Alexa Sun 09-Aug-20 09:00:37

PS Niobe, unfortunately not all patients are as competent as you. Many people would be intimidated by a reception like you describe.