Why I can’t change GPs…

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?

3 thoughts on “Why I can’t change GPs…

  1. Considering everything you’ve gone through I think you’re letters to the doctor were remarkably civil and restrained.
    I’m really curious about what a face to face with the doctor will mean to your treatment and diagnosis.

    • Well, unless he gets off his lazy arse and comes to see me, that can’t happen.

      What bothers me is that this might be a hospital cock-up. Three years ago they diagnosed me with heart failure – just one tiny snag – nobody recorded that fact (I have my records for that period, unredacted, and they contain nothing of use to anybody).

      At that time I wrote to the same GP repeatedly over a period of months before he finally came out to see me, listened to my heart, and panicked! It hadn’t occurred to him to tell me he had no record of my heart failure, so I’m wondering, dumb bugger that he is, if he has no record of my Addison’s either and still isn’t telling me?

  2. I hear everything you’ve said Ron. I know that some similar libel has been written on my records, because I had the same problem when I was trying to get a diagnosis in Spain.

    Because I was renting there, I had to move about quite a bit and, every time, I had to see a new GP. I’d go to the new surgery, register and see a GP right away. I’d always be met with friendly, helpful listening and suggestions for what actions we could take, tests, etc. We’d agree a follow-up appointment a week later. I’d go back. By that time my records would have arrived and I’d be met, not by the previous nice Dr Jekyll, but by the evil Edward Hyde.

    I was told I just needed a job. No, I’d been let go from several because I could not do even simple, clerical work any more. Of course they thought I was malingering, insane (likewise, not until as a reaction to all the denial) and everything else ascribed to us by those ignorant of the facts. To add to it, one GP there said it was just because I was homesick and missed my family (who I had deliberately distanced myself from).

    It’s the same everywhere and you are not alone.

    And you know your business better than anyone.


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