People keep asking me why I don’t change GPs, and I’m getting awfully tired of trotting out the same information time after time after time.
So, this is why.
First, changing GPs is no guarantee that I’ll be better off – it’s very much a leap in the dark.
And I readily admit that I am an expensive patient – I take 16 drugs and I need more for my Addison’s (Hydrocortisone is absurdly expensive), and at one point last year the dressings for my legs cost £45 a day (and might well do so again). Now, when every doctor is counting the cost of everything, I might find it very hard to find a GP to take me on.
And there’s always the problem that new GPs want to fiddle with existing medication – they always do! – I can’t risk that. Aside from the Addison’s, I’m reasonably stable – I need to keep it that way.
Secondly, and disastrously, there is information on my file that dates from the time I was trying to get my ME diagnosed in the mid 80s (I didn’t know then it was ME, of course) – it took 10 years and cost me my marriage and my sanity** – when some genius put lies on my file, saying that I was either mentally ill, malingering for the sake of benefits, or simply lying about everything just for the attention. I was told this by one of the doctors, now dead, many years ago – he thought I had the right to know.
**Literally – the stress tipped me into a breakdown and I spent 2 years talking to a shrink. Eventually, he wrote to my GP practise saying that my MH problems could be laid firmly at their door, and were caused by their refusal to listen to me and investigate properly – he showed me the letter. As far as I know my GP put it straight in the bin!
If I change GPs, that shit will follow me. I know, I’ve tried.
And this is the killer – I have no legal right to have that information removed from my file.
There was a case in the Guardian towards the middle of last year. A woman in a very similar position to me, having exhausted every other avenue, took her GP practise to court to get her records changed. It cost her £18,000 – and she lost.
£18,000. After 28 years on disability benefits I’m worth about £400, so what chance do I have?