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Text from surgery asking if I smoke

(69 Posts)
FastWindow Wed 12-Feb-14 20:17:49

So I received a text from NHS-NoReply asking me to reply (?) with SMOKE, EX, or NEVER. As apparently my surgery want to update their records.

They already know my status as I told them fourteen weeks ago. It's not like I haven't been asked for years and years.

AIBU at the question? I haven't replied.

So as not to drip feed:
I'm a social smoker, never in the house or car.
Same surgery has a big black mark for me, for not inviting dd for her first jabs, I realised at 11 weeks she'd had none. But she had had croup. Grr.

I got a letter.
<lives in dark ages>

It's in the recycling.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 12-Feb-14 21:06:54

I got a text asking me that, and another asking me my blood pressure. I replied "Why?" to both. They have not responded.

I expect to be in a partnership about my health with my doctor. If they can't explain how it's useful to me I'm not going to be doing it. I am not prepared to have my health data simply fill their files.

beccyboots Wed 12-Feb-14 21:10:22

I had a similar letter and felt similar annoyance - especially as I had answered that question at the surgery 2 weeks earlier. Do they send out letters to suspected biscuit bingers asking if they are still on the custard creams? Biscuits can wreak havoc too!
I almost rolled a fag with my letter, but as I had given up, I binned it like a good girl.

lyndie Wed 12-Feb-14 21:15:57

The end of the QOF year is approaching so they are desperate to update their records. QOF points mean prizes ie money. GP practice incomes are going down so by asking for information they will avoid having to make staff redundant or drop services like phlebotomy or family planning clinics. Don't blame the practices btw blame the government for insisting on such ridiculous methods of funding general practice.

FastWindow Wed 12-Feb-14 21:18:04

emmeline ah, so I know what to expect next. I shall reply RISING.

FastWindow Wed 12-Feb-14 21:21:26

lyndie that's interesting. And depressing all the same. Still. I want option 4 'SOMETIMES' grin

WitchWay Wed 12-Feb-14 21:24:13

If you smoke or have smoked or are a young never-smoker, the surgery will be being brow-beaten to obtain this information (every year) for at least a certain percentage of patients or they lose out on finance with which to provide patient services. If you are an older never-smoker, they don't have to bother nagging you so much.

Musicaltheatremum Wed 12-Feb-14 21:32:22

Lyndie, the word QOF makes my blood run cold. Yes everyone, this is the end of the financial year so we have to send letters/texts/phone calls to people to ask them lots of silly questions. It may be that a code for smoking has been picked up on one software system and not another hence the text when you have just been asked the question.
We hate it. I am spending hours going through records checking codes have been correctly applied as they change throughout the year. I hate it.

Also trying to contact diabetics to get things done who have been to the hospital but because their coding system is different to hours they end up being called for things they don't need to.

Please bear with us. We have to do this or our funding is cut and we have staff to pay and bills to pay and I would like my income not to fall again for another year. It is ridiculous I agree.

Musicaltheatremum Wed 12-Feb-14 21:35:12

Beccy, if our practice income was dependent on asking biscuit intake we would be asking but it isn't yet. You have to understand that the income a practice earns doesn't go to the GPs directly but goes to paying heating, lighting, staff salaries, insurance, nursing supplies, etc. what is left over comes to the GP so if expenses rise then we earn less and less each year.

lyndie Wed 12-Feb-14 22:23:10

I'm a GP too, I wasn't criticising practices for asking. I know they have to ask. I regret that the system is making patients feel like they have to take part in random questioning merely to tick a box to get the funding for an essential public service!

SaucyJack Wed 12-Feb-14 22:28:40

I had this once. Didn't bother me in the slightest TBH.

I only had to reply to a text.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 12-Feb-14 22:38:45

I always answer no.

Not entirely sure why.

ImagineJL Wed 12-Feb-14 22:41:17

I'm a GP too. We're desperate to get our smoking status stats up. It's always the hardest target to meet, because many people don't come to the surgery for years at a time, yet somehow we're expected to know if they smoke or not.

Please, do us a favour, just answer the question. As Lyndie pointed out, the income is needed not to line our pockets, but to provide services. Our incomes have gone down every year for years now. We'd like to employ another doctor at our surgery so we could offer more appointments, but we just cant't afford to.

Sidge Wed 12-Feb-14 22:48:19

QOF. Bane of my life.

As a practice nurse I have to interrogate ask every patient I see a number of questions relating to smoking status, LARC, medication, check their blood pressure, etc etc regardless of what they've actually come to see me for.

Does my head in but if I don't do it I get prompted and am very aware that my working life could get even harder with less money, less staff, less equipment...

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 13-Feb-14 00:11:44

As a practice nurse I have to interrogate ask every patient I see a number of questions relating to smoking status, LARC, medication, check their blood pressure, etc etc regardless of what they've actually come to see me for.

My dad is alive because of this so please don't see it as pointless!

He is the type of bloke that goes to the doctors once every 20 years whether he needs to or not. One day his jaw swelled up and even he admitted he should get it checked out.

They found his notes (in the basement covered in dust probably) and checked his jaw was fine. The doctor then figured this was her only chance so did the full height, weight, smoker etc with him. Including checking his blood pressure. Which was so high she checked it 4 times. Quickly got him on blood pressure medication and 10 years later he's fine. Had she not checked he probably would have had a stroke by now.

I love over achieving girly swot GPs determined to meet their targets.

grumpyoldbat Thu 13-Feb-14 00:36:51

Just make sure they record it correctly. My GP once told me that my knee would heal better if I quit smoking. When I said that I didn't smoke she said "yes you do, the computer says so".

HanSolo Thu 13-Feb-14 00:49:06

Text back and ask "Are you overweight?" or "Did you drink more than 2 units last Saturday night?"


Jollyphonics Thu 13-Feb-14 06:20:50

I don't understand why concern about the health of patients is seen as intrusive and annoying. Would you prefer GP surgeries to never do any health prevention and promotion, and just leave everyone to wing it and hope for the best?

coralanne Thu 13-Feb-14 06:38:05

Well said Jolly Can't quite see why people resent being asked these questions about their health. When they apply for loans they are asked every question except what colour their underwear is but they don't seem to mind answering these questions.

Frozennortherner Thu 13-Feb-14 07:03:09

It's because people feel judgements are being made and they themselves didn't ask for this monitoring. The resentment comes from a lack of choice. This thread has been useful in explaining why as patients, we're asked these questions. Could they not be prefaced with this so as to contextualise them? Surgeries might get a better response rate. Pretty useless information gathering IMO as I think people lie over smoking and alcohol intake.

southwest1 Thu 13-Feb-14 08:17:12

I'm afraid that I refuse to answer these questions and have told my GP why. If he wants extra QoF points he can look elsewhere.

Sidge Thu 13-Feb-14 08:20:30

Mumof oh crikey don't get me wrong, I don't see it as pointless at all - it would be nice to have enough time allocated to do the "extra" stuff that's all and not feel that a consultation is becoming a box-checking exercise.

There have been many occasions where we've found a problem on an opportunistic BP check for example, and any opportunity to discuss the benefits of quitting smoking for example is worthwhile.

Glad your dad is well smile

Chopchopbusybusy Thu 13-Feb-14 08:30:07

Southwest, what reason did you give your GP for not answering 'those' questions. Presumably you mean questions about your health.
Our GP surgery has one of those automated arrival systems and it is currently asking do you smoke.

southwest1 Thu 13-Feb-14 09:18:09

I told my GP I'm not prepared to answer as they only want to update their system to get the QOF points.

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