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Telephone consultation for medical review

(41 Posts)
Germanshepherdsmum Tue 16-Aug-22 16:21:14

I have asthma and have a review each year with the asthma nurse at my GP surgery. Today I received a letter informing me that the review would take place by telephone at a specified time. This rather surprised me because each year I receive a questionnaire about how my asthma has/has not limited my activities to fill in and take to the review and the nurse checks my ‘peak flow’, (lung capacity) which is always really abysmal. Of course they might send me a questionnaire to complete and return but there was no mention of that, and I don’t have a peak flow monitor to test myself. I rarely need to bother the doctor, thank goodness, but this doesn’t seem a very good way of doing this sort of check. Has anyone else had an asthma review conducted by phone? Apologies for the rant!

Smileless2012 Tue 16-Aug-22 16:23:12

No experience but I understand and sympathise with your concern and frustrationflowers.

Herbie9 Tue 16-Aug-22 16:31:08

After 2 years, have received a nurse asthma clinic appointment at my GP surgery. I'm very thankful I have mild asthma well controlled at the moment. Just hope having a telephone appointment for asthma is not going to be the new norm.
Absolutely ridiculous in my opinion.

Wigwamgran Tue 16-Aug-22 16:32:24

I did recently but my usually very mild asthma wasn’t great so I ended up being reviewed face to face with the doc anyway, resulting in the addition of oral medication as well as my inhalers.

I think it would have worked by phone if the situation had been the same as every previous review.

Jaxjacky Tue 16-Aug-22 16:32:55

My husband did very recently, chat with the nurse, prescription for peak flow meter and recording charts sent to the pharmacy for him to collect. After the readings, over a couple of weeks and the charts returned to the surgery he had a follow up call from the nurse. She had discussed the readings with the GP and an inhaler prescription was issued direct to the pharmacy.
MrJ was very happy with the whole process.

crazyH Tue 16-Aug-22 16:35:28

Yes GSM -it was last year. I expect I will get a call again this year. I do have a Peak Flow Meter - I’m rather surprised you don’t have one. You can ask for one. TBH, I’m so used to my Asthma/Bronchiectasis, I don’t bother to check my Peak Flow. I’m very naughty I know. I use my Diskhaler daily and my Ventolin as and when needed. Btw, my peak flow reading is abysmal too 😂- if you are concerned or feel you need to be seen, just give the GP a call. Have you not been referred to a Respiratory Consultant? I was. They have discharged me but I suppose, I could be re- referred if need be. I hope that answers some of your questions.

LOUISA1523 Tue 16-Aug-22 16:39:15

This is the norm since covid in my area...people are prescribed their own peak flow meters...maybe you will be prescribed one at your review?

Wheniwasyourage Tue 16-Aug-22 16:45:46

Phone follow-up seems to be the new normal round here, including after cardiac surgery and for neurological problems. Just make sure you're available all day, as I have known calls to come in earlier than expected, and one person I knew then didn't get another call at the right time because he'd missed the one several hours earlier than the appointed time! He had to go through the whole fun experience of booking another appointment. angry

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 16-Aug-22 17:06:00

I think I will ask for a monitor - it’s never been offered - though my results have always been so bad that my previous doctor said I was like a broken down old horse! My asthma started when I was a toddler (I attended the hospital asthma clinic for years) so I’ve lived with it for nearly 70 years and modern medication is a game changer. It’s now fairly well controlled with inhalers, including a steroid one, but my breathing was so bad earlier in the year that I wondered if I was verging on COPD, so (not being one to trouble the doctor) I was awaiting the review to see if I needed further medication. On reflection it may have been a worse than usual reaction to the flowering rape. It looks like this is the future, then - if so, it’s not very bright. I don’t mean to complain about my condition, it’s nothing compared to others on GN, but I wonder just how much isn’t being detected due to the inaccessibility of GPS and even nurses and I really don’t understand why things are like this now. I could understand it during the lockdowns, but why haven’t we returned to some semblance of normality?

growstuff Tue 16-Aug-22 17:15:55

I think it's the new norm. My diabetes had been well-controlled for years, until I had a shock a few weeks ago. All my reviews have been by telephone.

After cancer surgery 12 days ago, I've been left to deal with the dressings myself with a phone number, if something doesn't seem normal. No idea how I'm supposed to know what "normal" is.

They're like this because there's a shortage of resources in general practice.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 16-Aug-22 18:16:01

I had an over the phone asthma check in 2020 and 2021. I do have a peak flow device at home so could give them the reading, I had my blood pressure taken at my gym and gave the nurse that also. She wanted to know my weight also along with all the normal asthma questions.

I have got a face-to-face with practice nurse next week for asthma check up only because I have just finished an eight week course of steroids due to asthma flare up.

Nandalot Tue 16-Aug-22 18:21:13

I have an asthma review coming up. It is a face to face 30 min appt. I have to do a peak flow before because the blowing part is not allowed because of Covid. Our surgery, despite being under staffing pressures, is exceptional.

Sparklefizz Tue 16-Aug-22 18:30:31

Germanshepherdmum For my asthma checkup last year I just got the questionnaire, and then a text message a fortnight later to say that I "seemed to be ok". shock

Fortunately I am proactive with my health and would have phoned if I had any sort of problem, but no one at the surgery would have known that. No one has spoken to me about my asthma since October 2019.

Lucca Tue 16-Aug-22 18:37:30

Sorry to be vulgar but I do hope they don’t extend these phone reviews to gynaecology….

Lucca Tue 16-Aug-22 18:37:56

Or even video calls😱😬

Nanawind Tue 16-Aug-22 18:44:06

DH had his arranged review for asthma yesterday. After filling in an online questionnaire about a month ago. It wasn't actually a phone call the nurse just sent an email to tell him how to control it from the information he gave. Fortunately he has mild asthma.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 16-Aug-22 18:57:08

Oh, growstuff, how difficult for you. It's not supposed to be like that is it? I hope all goes well for you.

I hope it doesn't get to that, Lucca, but I wouldn't put money on it. Frankly I despair. With all due respect to all the good GPs out there, covid seems to have provided an excuse not to actually see their patients any more. There was a time when that was entirely understandable, but that time has long passed. Its a very sad state of affairs.

Marydoll Tue 16-Aug-22 18:57:26

My asthma review in December was a face to face consultation with the asthma nurse.
She was unable to do a peak flow check, "due to the Covid situation". I however, had been keeping a record of my readings, which showed a downward trend.
She made a face to face appointment for my GP, the following day and I was referred back to the respiritory consultant.

If I had done it all online, I don't think, how unwell I was, would have been picked up.

Doodledog Tue 16-Aug-22 19:16:45

My asthma suddenly got so bad that I was referred to a respiratory consultant just before lockdown, and most of my appointments after that were by telephone. My asthma reviews with the practice nurse stopped, as we didn't know what was causing my breathing problems and they didn't want to get in the way of any advice from the consultant.

I have been put on the MART regime (Maintenance And Reliever Therapy) which has made a huge difference. I have a new inhaler called Respimat, which is normally used for COPD, but has recently been approved for asthmatics. I have two puffs once a day coupled with my DuoResp one, which I take both morning and evening, plus as a reliever when needed. I was so ill before this that I got no exercise at all during lockdown, and even going upstairs was difficult. I really struggled if I had to wear a mask, and life was pretty miserable. Now I am slowly getting back to normal, as my breathing has improved so much.

It was frustrating having the consultations over the phone, and going into hospital for the numerous tests I had, but it was finally decided that it was my asthma causing the problems, rather than the numerous scary things that had been considered.

If your peak flow isn't good, you might want to ask your doctor about the MART regime (or the nurse, as the asthma nurses often know as much as the GPs about it).

growstuff Tue 16-Aug-22 20:15:53

Germanshepherdsmum

Oh, growstuff, how difficult for you. It's not supposed to be like that is it? I hope all goes well for you.

I hope it doesn't get to that, Lucca, but I wouldn't put money on it. Frankly I despair. With all due respect to all the good GPs out there, covid seems to have provided an excuse not to actually see their patients any more. There was a time when that was entirely understandable, but that time has long passed. Its a very sad state of affairs.

I don't think it's to do with Covid any more. It's a policy change to move more "routine" reviews online. I've seen minutes of meetings where it's been discussed. Covid forced GPs to make online consultations work as best as they could and now it's how the future will be, unless there's any serious concern about results.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 16-Aug-22 20:26:13

A great shame. I fear so many people just won’t bother to try to consult a doctor, or things won’t be picked up in telephone or online consultations. Doctors found time to see us before covid - now they seem to have found a way of not doing so, whilst still, as I understand it, being paid by the NHS on a per capita basis. What have we come to?

MissAdventure Tue 16-Aug-22 20:41:03

My neighbour was told her copd review was to be over the phone.

I won't repeat what she told them.

Reubenblue Tue 16-Aug-22 20:42:28

I totally agree with other posts, having an asthma review on the telephone is ludicrous. I too have asthma and did indeed have a telephone review, a box ticking exercise in my view and shows little regard for how serious asthma can be. Care seems to be lacking in many directions sadly.

Doodledog Tue 16-Aug-22 20:45:34

It is absolutely not the same to talk to a doctor about something like asthma on the phone. How can you judge whether a wheeze is mild or serious - they have to listen to it. How can you judge whether doing something is easy or difficult with nothing to compare it to? They need to see you do it.

It's a ploy to force people to go private. But do ask about the MART regime, GSM? I can't tell you how much it's changed things for me.

Dickens Tue 16-Aug-22 20:46:48

GSM

It looks like this is the future, then - if so, it’s not very bright. I don’t mean to complain about my condition, it’s nothing compared to others on GN, but I wonder just how much isn’t being detected due to the inaccessibility of GPS and even nurses and I really don’t understand why things are like this now. I could understand it during the lockdowns, but why haven’t we returned to some semblance of normality?

I think this is the new normality. We are being weaned off F2F appointments. I believe the NHS is in the process of being 'de-nationalised'.

If you look at the recent Health and Care Bill, you will see that we are heading down the road of 'Americanisation'.

We are in for a sea-change.

Glad to see you posting again, but sorry about the reason. I don't suffer from asthma, but I cannot imagine how wearying and frightening it must be sometimes.