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To make a formal complaint about the GP surgery?

(102 Posts)
wink1970 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:39:39

Early in August I developed a sudden-onset range of symptoms including swollen abdomen, excruciating back-ache and spotting. After a bit of online research - it was over the weekend, so 2 full days before the surgery opened again -I put this down to my coil possibly slipping (coil number 3, had always had a good experience) and went to the doctors..... who did nothing, nothing at all except refer me for an ultrasound.

Ultrasound was an 8 week wait (!) so I went to the FPC and had the coil removed. This didn't change the symptoms, it clearly wasn't the coil.

Fast forward to about 1 week ago (and in the meantime I have been back to the doctors 3 times, with no course of action by them other than 'wait for the ultrasound') and I bought some antibiotics on the Internet... and lo, my symptoms have gone. I would guess that I had some form of cervix infection.

Now, I know we shouldn't over-use antibiotics, but surely over 4 visits you would have thought they would have (a) thought of the possibility of an infection, or (b) prescribed some just to shut me up, or (c) had a good poke around rather than waiting for an ultrasound that didn't tell them anything anyway?

AIBU in thinking of making a formal complaint, maybe even a snotty lawyer's letter about malpractice? I have been in considerable pain and discomfort, but am also wary of being 'blacklisted' - it's hard enough to get an appointment as it is.

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 30-Sep-13 17:55:42

They referred you for a scan and you were impatient. Why did you not ask for an internal before you self-diagnosed?

RevoltingPeasant Mon 30-Sep-13 18:04:32

candy but why should OP have to specifically ASK for an internal? Surely, it is the dr's job to think 'Well, she will have a 2-mo wait for a scan now, so I'll just rule out other possible causes by doing a quick internal'.

Surely, patients should not have to request that? Otherwise, if a patient is expected to take the initiative by telling a dr what examinations to do, why is she BU by taking the initiative to diagnose herself?

OP YABU about the lawyer's letter, and I'd be careful with the ABs online. But, I have had a similar experience, where it took my old GPs four visits to diagnose a urinary tract infection. I mean, a UTI! Surely bread and butter stuff. Similarly, 9-10 weeks when I was in too much pain to sleep at night, awful kidney pains.......

It was infuriating when I found out to think that if only the GP had been arsed to do a simple urine sample it could've avoided two months of illness.

reallyslummymummy Mon 30-Sep-13 18:05:31

Unless you actually want to pursue legal action don't contact a lawyer. I think a strong letter will do the trick. Or making a bolder statement and moving GP.

holidaysarenice Mon 30-Sep-13 18:09:56

And had you reacted badly to those anti-biotics where would you have turned?

Oh yes the trusty nhs and its good gp service.

You already misdiagnosed urself wrong once - coil. But did you even listen to the gp.

They wud probably love to blacklist you.

expatinscotland Mon 30-Sep-13 18:15:19

I would complain.

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 30-Sep-13 18:20:59

What's wrong with asking your doctor for something if they're not forthcoming? I have a joint condition and requested a scan when one joint was particularly bad. I'm not saying it's great practice but the OP clearly thought she knew best anyway!

figwit Mon 30-Sep-13 18:21:35

Do you have a link for the surgery you used? They sound useful.

ivykaty44 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:30:46

if you can diagnose yourself and get ant-biotics on the internet then there is no reason for you to be registered with a gp- is there?

What would you do if the doctor gave you tablets to keep you quite until your ultra sound and they were the wrong tablets? You would complain for not getting your diagnoses correct.

Is it the gp's fault he can't diagnose you until you have had the scan?

They can't win can they with you

expatinscotland Mon 30-Sep-13 18:35:34

She should have been swapped for infection after having the coil out and STILL having the symptoms she had.

Cantdance Mon 30-Sep-13 18:36:30

A dear friend of my family went to the gp because he was sleeping 20 hours a day, was losing the power of speech, couldn't focus his eyes properly and other symptoms. I told my husband "it's either a stroke or a brain tumour". My husband replied "well it isn't a brain tumour" Neither of us are doctors but it took the gp another four visits over the course of several months before he ordered a scan. In that time he just kept giving out antidepressant prescriptions. A month after the scan our friend was dead of a brain tumour that had grown so large it was inoperable.

I find the quality of many of the GPs in this country absolutely deplorable and often agree that an educated and interested layperson could do better. OP YANBU and if you could pm me the name of the Glasgow surgery I would appreciate it.

Cantdance Mon 30-Sep-13 18:37:32

Meant to say husband replied "it isn't a stroke". It was of course a brain tumour.

ASmidgeofMidge Mon 30-Sep-13 18:43:03

Given the amount of time that elapsed, it's equally likely your symptoms resolved themselves, rather than the antibiotics sorting them out.

ASmidgeofMidge Mon 30-Sep-13 18:44:21

I would also question the credentials of any 'surgery' selling px antibiotics online

expatinscotland Mon 30-Sep-13 18:45:56

When we were in the paed onco unit with DD1, there were countless kids in there who had been fobbed off by GPs, sadly. All too often in those cases, the result was fatal.

PennySillin Mon 30-Sep-13 18:49:09

I find the quality of many of the GPs in this country absolutely deplorable and often agree that an educated and interested layperson could do better.

While I totally respect your opinion and your experience I couldn't disagree more with your statement. I think we have a country of very good GPs and doctors. Yes there are some that are questionable and for those who find themselves under the care of these people this is not acceptable but I believe the majority of consultations are entirely appropriate, professional and evidence based (sometimes not what the pt wants but doesn't make it wrong).

In this case I do think the OP didn't receive the best care and swabs should have been done to find out an underlying cause, however I don't think this makes many GPs in this country deplorable. But that's just my opinion based on my experiences. smile

ArgyMargy Mon 30-Sep-13 18:52:54

ASmidge has it spot on.

2rebecca Mon 30-Sep-13 18:59:50

If you had your symptoms when you went to the FPC to get your coil removed then why are you not moaning about the FPC not checking for an infection as they will have had to do a speculum examination to remove the coil and examine you and maybe needlessly removed your coil? If you had pelvic pain they would seem the most logical people to do swabs etc as they are looking in that area anyway?
When you went to your GP afterwards they'll have presumed the FPC did a speculum exam and were happy there was no infection maybe that is why they didn't do another speculum examination.
If you had the US why didn't you make an appointment to go back if you wanted the result?
As you have nothing to prove you ever had an infection a lawyers letter seems OTT. Yes the pain went but it may have gone anyway, just as antibiotics will always cure colds because they always go anyway.
I think you should change your GP surgery as you obviously have no faith in them but that is all I would do.

Saminthemiddle Mon 30-Sep-13 19:00:51

YABU - when I read your symptoms, my first thought was that you had a cyst and 6 weeks isn't that unreasonable as the GP must have thought it wasn't that urgent or else it would have been sooner. I am not sure why you are so angry with the GP because surely the FPC gave you an examination when they took the coil out? A dr would have done this and you could have asked her about your symptoms and worries so not sure why you didn't do this?

Cantdance Mon 30-Sep-13 19:03:29

Penny thanks for your well-reasoned response. I don't think this one case means all GPs in this country are deplorable, no. But I do think that overall in the experiences of my friends, family and myself, there has been a lot more poor quality treatment I'm aware of in the UK than from where I'm from, the US.

In the USA, treatment is excellent for those who can afford it and those that can't are stuffed. In the UK in my experience treatment is mediocre until you get a diagnosis and then once you have the diagnosis treatment is good but not excellent. Part of the difference comes down to a difference in the length and quality of training that GPs undergo in the USA vs here. But the majority of the difference comes down to money. If only we could have a system that gave excellent care to everyone - but that's a political and economic discussion for another time.

The NHS is stretched to the limit, doctors are under pressure to churn the patients through quickly and not order any unnecessary tests or referrals. Patients here therefore have to educate themselves and push for things like scans, tests and swabs for themselves and their children.

Viviennemary Mon 30-Sep-13 19:08:20

It is annoying when they take so long to diagnose you that you resorted to buying drugs over the internet. Never a good idea. I don't think you'll get very far with the complaint. Because they referred you for the ultrasound. But on the whole I don't think YABU to be annoyed. Put in a complaint but not solicitors letter.

Tavv Mon 30-Sep-13 19:09:49

I think the problem wasn't the referral, but the long waiting list times which unfortunately are normal in today's NHS.

Cantdance Mon 30-Sep-13 19:14:04

I went to see the GP (a locum) a couple of years ago as my periods had gotten extremely heavy which was a big change for me. When I told him this he literally said to me "well what do you expect me to do about it?" I said " well I expect you to either tell me it's okay or to send me for a scan". He said "well I can't tell you it's okay" so I replied "well you'd better send me for a scan, then". Of course the scan showed a cyst and I had to have it removed under general anaesthetic. This is just one example of what I consider poor treatment by a GP in that he shouldn't be asking me what to do! But is this actually normal in the UK? Because in the USA it wouldn't happen.

PennySillin Mon 30-Sep-13 19:14:54

If only we could have a system that gave excellent care to everyone yes yes yes, if only!

How much training do the US Drs have to do to become a GP/family physician cantdance?

Cantdance Mon 30-Sep-13 19:22:39

Penny in the US it's a minimum of 7 years postgrad while in the UK minimum 5 for GPs.

caroldecker Mon 30-Sep-13 19:52:17

I would suspect that if you made a complaint you would be unable to use the same doctor going forward.

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