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to expect a GP NOT to have to google

(111 Posts)
Justforlaughs Mon 02-Dec-13 12:53:41

a vasectomy! or "anbesol"?
I was talking to a friend about the GPs at our local surgery and she mentioned a new doctor who had had to Google a "vasectomy" when her husband asked about having one. He didn't know whether the patient was eligible, what the process involved and any possible complications.
I then went to the GP and saw a male doctor, who I had never seen before (and have ASSUMED, rightly or wrongly, but due to a process f elimination, not unreasonably, that it was the same one) because DD had mouth ulcers. I asked whether I should use Anbesol or similar - and he had never heard of it.
Now, I don't GPs to be infallable, or to have detailed knowledge of every possible diagnosis and medication available, but surely both of these should be pretty standard knowledge. So AIBU to wonder where he trained?? and what grade of degree he got?? (Not that I think it's relevant, but just in case anyone else wonders - due to my question about where he trained - he is White British)

MammaTJ Mon 02-Dec-13 12:57:44

Perhaps he is new to the surgery and needed to find out about their policy on referals. I agree about the anbesol though (wonderful stuff), he should have known about that.

OHforDUCKSchristmascake Mon 02-Dec-13 12:57:53

My GP recently Googled Rheumatoid arthritis when I said I thought I might have it (previously suggested by another GP but was too scared to follow it up) and he looked at the list of symptoms and asked me if I had them.

It was as though he had never heard of RA. confused

He then told me that a blood test would give me a guaranteed answer, so when it came back negative he told me it wasnt it, despite having all the symptoms. He obviously didnt Google enough or he would have known a large percentage come back negative despite being in the throws of an attack.

So now Im in pain, untreated, and disbelieved.

Some doctors are really plonkers.

AuntieStella Mon 02-Dec-13 13:01:42

Are you sure it was google? If so, it sounds very wrong.

But if he was looking up an online version of the Formulary to check if a particular preparation can be used for children, that's normal (and as Anbesol is so commonly confused with the much, much commoner Anusol, that might have accounted for a strange initial reaction).

And for vasectomy, he might have been looking up specific PCT guidelines for referral and which of the several methods is currently in use locally, rather than being utterly clueless.

And if you have seen posts by the TheFuzz about what can go wrong when a GP, rather than a urologist, counsels about vasectomy risks, then getting the correct information seems better practice than relying on memory.

noblegiraffe Mon 02-Dec-13 13:04:54

I'm perfectly happy for my doc to look stuff up. Beats blagging things he doesn't know or can't remember.

Binkyridesagain Mon 02-Dec-13 13:05:07

My GP googled Episcleritis, just to check on my symptoms. For over 10 years i had suffered with the eye condition and every GP I had seen had no idea what was wrong with me.

He had had the condition himself, which had been diagnosed by an expert, so wanted to check that what he thought was correct as he had very little experience in the area.

Sadly theres not a lot he can do for me but now at least I have a name for it, and know that its not causing me any damage.

If they haven't come across or dealt with some conditions before then I would prefer them to have a quick google or check on WebMD to ensure that they are following the correct treatment path.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 02-Dec-13 13:10:43

There is nothing wrong with a GP using google - many of the pages will be NHS ones.

Looking up local guidelines for referrals for a vasectomy sounds entirely normal.

I have no idea what Anbesol is, I've never heard of it.

Musicaltheatremum Mon 02-Dec-13 13:11:43

Would you rather we just guessed? I had never heard of anbesol before becoming a doctor. Had never had mouth ulcers. He may have been seeing if there was a different name for it. I do google things when I don't know something off by heart. We have to know something about absolutely everything so there are going to be things we are not 100% sure about. But when we google we are brining up reputable websites that we know we can trust.
The important thing about being a doctor and a GP in particular is not knowing what you know but knowing what you don't know.
I have been a GP for over 20 years and probably look things up even more now as this is how I update myself. If I find something I don't know I look it up then send myself an email home to read more about it at night. Of course I know the emergency stuff but the more obscure things I don't and I'm not afraid to admit it.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 02-Dec-13 13:14:02

I am more than happy for my gp to google stuff.

fluffyraggies Mon 02-Dec-13 13:16:20

Lots of times i've seen a GP haul a large book off their shelf and sit and look up a query about a medicine, and i've never thought anything of it ...

... but that does just seems better somehow, than watch them just log on to google hmm

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 02-Dec-13 13:16:37

I've had doctors look in books while I have been there, I find it reassuring that they dont think they know everything - after all the human body is a very complex thing they can possibly know it all.

I find you go in at a certain age and they go Mother - stress related due to children, pensioner....age related etc etc

I know at least one person who would not have had the hideous/irreversible life changing problems they have now if a doctor had thought outside their easy diagnosis.

I am sure he wasnt just on google reading medical answers on ask grin

lilyaldrin Mon 02-Dec-13 13:19:45

Even a doctor can't know everything - especially GPs who have to have such a wide range of knowledge.

Justforlaughs Mon 02-Dec-13 13:20:22

I am obviously being unreasonable grin
I would far rather them look things up than blag it/ make it up as they go along/ think they know everything, but if they are going to just look everything up online, surely we could all do that at home!

hazeyjane Mon 02-Dec-13 13:20:57

My gp has googled stuff before. I don't see why a gp should have heard of anbesol.

My ds has a heart scan once with a room full of medical students, and the consultant cardiologist asked them to google a condition, it was bizarre to see 5 med students all frantically googling on their phones trying to be the first one to find it!

I would rather a gp was upfront about having to google something or admit that they need to ask someone else's advice.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 02-Dec-13 13:23:46

Well I think anbesol is a trade name so its possible he's never heard of it.

He wouldn't have got your areas eligibility criteria from google so I suspect it was something else he was checking online.

Years ago my very experienced GP didn't know what the funny marks on dd's torso was and got down a big dermatology textbook to look at photos. I was really pleased he had. I'd much rather have a GP be open that they're not sure and check.

It could be that he's a GP trainee, like f2 status. So a qualified doctor but doing his two years of GP training. Even if he isn't better to check than bluff it.

struggling100 Mon 02-Dec-13 13:25:52

I find it funny that you think GPs should be able to hold in their head all human knowledge about the human body and mind, and everything that can go wrong with it!! grin High expectations, much?!

I don't think that the key to being a great GP - or an expert about anything actually - is holding every single piece of information about an entire subject area in your head. It's about having the wider expertise and the knowledge to be able to evaluate the reliability of information you find, and to apply it in a given context. You can't be sure WHY the GP you saw was googling those terms, and what they were checking. It could be a detail of the advice, the referral guidelines, anything!! Surely it's better that they check - if they had given you the wrong detail, you'd be on here (justifiably) posting about how annoying it was that you were given false information!!

To put it another way: my partner is an academic. He regularly uses Google to find research. Just because he's looking things up on the web doesn't mean he knows nothing about his subject. It's just that Google's algorithms are really powerful, to the point that they are more accurate and more speedy to use than the specialist databases he also uses. Just because he googles something doesn't mean he knows nothing about the area. Sometimes he's checking a detail, or doublechecking a reference. Other times, he's looking to see whether there have been any new findings. (I'd much rather a healthcare professional googled something than gave me out-of-date advice).

My GP has also googled things in order to print off reliable information for me to take home. I found it really useful to have more information about the condition to digest at my leisure.

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 02-Dec-13 13:26:26

I am not a doctor, but I use the web constantly in my work to research, stay current, and get information about matters on which I am uninformed. Why would doctors not do this, too?

Musicaltheatremum Mon 02-Dec-13 13:28:09

Justforlaughs. Oh dear. Let's just look it up on line. We don't do it for everything we do it to clarify things. There is a lot more lateral thinking has to go on you know. 5 years at medical school, and another 6 years afterwards to become a qualified GP then there's all the changes and advances we have to remember. Maybe I'll just get my receptionists to do my surgeries. I have no problem if some one says they have googled something but it is my knowledge and training that can tell them when they have read something that is badly informed and explain it to you.
Please don't belittle us. It is a really hard job being a GP or any kind of doctor.

PolkaDotParty Mon 02-Dec-13 13:30:52

if they are going to just look everything up online, surely we could all do that at home!

The point is, that when they have looked it up, they can interpret that information and make clinical decisions based on their existing knowledge - we can all google something, but not many of us can then extrapolate that information and use it in context to progress the situation.

I would far, far rather a GP/Solicitor/Architect etc admitted they were unsure of something but would find out than just bumbling on making things up as they go.

I actually think a practitioner who is open about checking things etc is probably far safer than someone who blags things.

OneUp Mon 02-Dec-13 13:31:34

It wouldn't bother me if my GP was googling. I'd rather they googled then pretended they knew what they were talking about.

Birdsgottafly Mon 02-Dec-13 13:33:31

" but that does just seems better somehow, than watch them just log on to google "

He won't just be clicking in random answers.

It is similar to when you are doing a BA and the Uni search engines bring up reputable sites first.

You are told how to spot a valid site and what to type in after the initial query, such as what .org, UK.

He may if gone into his regulatory body's/Health Trust linked page, every profession governed by a regulatory body has these.

Medical knowledge moves so quickly, so does the whole NHS referral treatment system, they couldn't keep up without making the occasional enquiry.

Latara Mon 02-Dec-13 13:35:40

I'm sorry I just read this as ''GP shouldn't be having a GOGGLE'' - Googling is definitely preferable to that! grin

ouryve Mon 02-Dec-13 13:35:40

Many of the official definitions and symptom lists are accessible via google. Much quicker than having an assortment of thick, expensive and possibly out of date books to check for protocol etc.

Latara Mon 02-Dec-13 13:36:40

PS many GPs look up meds on the online BNF, which is better than not checking.

melika Mon 02-Dec-13 13:36:46

I am careful not to say to my GP that I have googled my symptoms because I got told off last time. I think it is a bit disconcerting if they do it while you are there in my opinion.

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