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To complain about this GP? Long, don't want to drip feed.

(458 Posts)
OriginalGreenGiant Fri 12-Dec-14 15:31:10

Ds1 (6) has had a minor sore throat for a few days but yesterday had woken up crying in pain, couldn't swallow, yawn or talk. I had a look and his tonsils were huge, felt his glands in his neck and they were like hard round marbles and he went 'ow' when I touched them. Felt a bit warm but no actual temperature at that point. So I managed to get a morning appointment in open surgery time and took him to see GP.

We waited over an hour for an appointment, in which time I could feel and see ds's temperature going up. He was tired and a bit lethargic and you could feel the heat radiating off him. So I stripped his top off and put him next to the window. we went. The GP didn't look at ds at all when we entered, just maintained eye contact with me and asked his symptoms, then picked up the thing (light...magnifier?) and looked in ds's ears and throat. It's hard to explain how 'off' this seemed in words, but IMO you can tell quite a bit from how a child looks, so it seemed very odd that she didn't even look at him, let alone ask him anything.

So, she pronounced his throat red and ears fine. She then ran her hands lightly over his neck and said 'glands are normal' and took his temperature (in the ear) and declared it 36.8 and fine. Then asked me what treatment i was hoping for from then on hmm .

At this point I could feel the warmth still radiating from ds so asked if she could test his temperature again. She gave me an indulgent smile and did...looked surprised and a bit shamefaced and went 'Oh it's actually 39! Sorry!'

I asked her about his glands and said to me they seemed very pronounced and painful. She felt them again a bit more firmly, ds1 visibly winced but she again said they were completely normal.

She then said that she understood I was probably hoping for antibiotics, but...and gave me a two minute lecture about the differences between viral and bacterial. I tried to politely interrupt (I'm not an idiot, I know the difference and had given no indication I was 'looking for' anti b's) but she was on a roll with her speech so on she went.

She then turned to her computer and brought up google, saying she would check if antibiotics were needed. She googled 'fever pain score', clicked on the first result and filled in a form. She said to me 'You can actually do this from home, to see if anti b's are necessary but obviously I don't mind completing it for you'. Well gee, thanks hmm

She turned to ds (and just to point out, this was the first time in over 5 minutes in the room that she had looked ds in the face or spoken to him) and asked him 'So, would you say your throat pain is moderate or severe?'. Ds is a bright 6 year old but fgs, he's 6. He stared at her, obviously not understanding so she repeated it to him word for word. So I answered that it had seemed severe.

Anyway, this form came up with the result that antib's were recommended. So she completed a prescription after poring through some text book for a full two minutes to check dosage. And out we went.

It all just seemed so wrong. Other than the moderate/severe question, she didn't actually look at ds or speak to him/question him at ALL. I'm not a Doctor, but considering the painful marbles that are protruding from ds1's neck, I'm pretty certain they wouldn't be described as 'normal'. Plus add in the temperature mistake, and google telling her whether to prescribe or not.

I said to dh I feel like complaining. I know that Doctors are probably sick of people traipsing in kids with a sniffle at the moment, but ds clearly had more than that and I don't feel that she really examined or diagnosed him at all.

Dh thinks I'm overreacting. He is of the 'Aw come on, she's probably newly qualified or having a bad day' opinion...tbh I couldn't give a fuck and neither of those warrant not doing your job properly IMO.


plummyjam Fri 12-Dec-14 15:34:02

Are you sure it wasn't a trainee?

ChristmasDawndonnaagain Fri 12-Dec-14 15:35:13

Tonsilitis is frequently viral, it's often hard to tell whether or not it's viral or bacterial. She was being thorough. Yes, perhaps her 'bedside manner' may have been better, but I'd rather have efficiency than sympathy in most cases. Surely you are aware of the significant rise in antibiotic resistant infections.
Having said all that, I'm prone to tonisilitis and I really hope your ds if feeling better soon.

CheeseBuster Fri 12-Dec-14 15:40:31

I'm not sure what treatment you wanted for a sore throat and temperature?

I'd rather have efficiency than sympathy in most cases i agree with this.

CheeseBuster Fri 12-Dec-14 15:41:44

Also you said he couldn't talk, which may be why she didn't ask him lots of Qs.

OriginalGreenGiant Fri 12-Dec-14 15:41:44

No idea if she was a trainee...there was no one else in the room, would that even happen?

Yes, I do know that anti-b's are overused, and went there with the intention of getting him checked, not solely for them. But I wouldn't call her examination anything approaching thorough tbh.

OriginalGreenGiant Fri 12-Dec-14 15:44:04

Cheese buster...even someone having trouble talking can nod/shake at questions so can't imagine why that would be a reason not to talk to him.

OriginalGreenGiant Fri 12-Dec-14 15:45:09

I'd rather have efficiency than sympathy in most cases i agree with this

Me too.

SassyCandyCane Fri 12-Dec-14 15:50:01

It wasn't just a sore throat and temp, Cheese raised glands and enlarged tonsils aren't normal!

lynniep Fri 12-Dec-14 16:00:13

I doubt she was a trainee. You have to be informed if you are to see a trainee. I personally would complain. The OP has described the GP as someone who a) cannot take someones temperature accurately b) cannot identify enlarged glands c) is unable to speak to her patient. This makes them incompetent in my eyes.

CheeseBuster Fri 12-Dec-14 16:05:29

I get that every time i get a sore throat sassy, is it really not normal? My throat gets huge as do the glands round the back of my neck. I only go to the drs if huge tonsils get white gunk on them.

TBF i was hospitalised with tonsillitis a couple of years ago after the infection spread i ended up with sepsis in ITU and my dad got told i was going to die. This wouldn't have happened if i had gone to the GP with a sore throat before it got really bad.

I dunno, i don't think she deserves a complaint but if you see her again and its the same story then maybe have a word with someone?

Mousefinkle Fri 12-Dec-14 16:14:15

Well it's always good to get tonsils checked out if it's severely painful and swollen. I say this because I actually ignored a sore throat a few years ago and after a week it developed into a very serious case of quinsy. I was hospitalised for a week after being rushed into a&e uncontrollably vomiting, couldn't even open my mouth enough to let someone look inside it was that painful. Had to have my tonsils drained shock, worst pain I've ever felt aside from labour.

You know your own child, you know when they're seriously ill and your sons throat sounds pretty serious to me. The doctor sounds fairly incompetent, not being able to take a temperature correctly for starters- even I can do that and I'm not medically trained. I'd request another appointment with a different GP, get a second opinion. You never can be too careful... Hope he feels better soon, throat pain is the worst. flowers

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Fri 12-Dec-14 16:18:37

sounds like trainee to me.

yes flag it up.

macdoodle Fri 12-Dec-14 16:30:02

What do you hope to achieve by complaining?
Tell her off? Make her feel bad? "Make sure it never happens to anyone else ever again"? hmm
Will it make you feel vindicated? Better? Will you be happy that you've made some poor overworked GP feel rotten??
FWIW, I am a GP, at the moment, we are seeing upwards of 100 "emergencies" a day. The HUGE majority of these are coughs, colds and sore throats. It has actually become scarily staggering that no one seems able to manage minor illnesses anymore. The "just want to check it", "cant be too careful" has become commonplace. I wonder how we ever managed before and that all these people weren't all admitted desperately ill.
Perhaps you were the 20th sore throat that had insisted they had to be seen that day, perhaps she had just had enough. Perhaps she was tired of arguing with every single patients about wants vs needs. Perhaps she was tired of hearing on the news that all GP's are clearly to blame for the world wide antiobiotic resistance. Who knows, but I can tell you what, it aint gonna get no better. NHS GP is at breaking point.

Mrsmorton Fri 12-Dec-14 16:34:34

I wish I could like your post macdoodle.

hellodave Fri 12-Dec-14 16:39:58

I agree with macdoodle

outtolunchagain Fri 12-Dec-14 16:54:10

So what do you want mac doodle , because the problem is that the very people who listen to you and don't go will be the people that should go to the doctors . We hardly ever go ,maybe once a year , but the time wasters like my MIL who goes every fortnight for a chat won't tAke any
notice .

The thing is the doctor should check each patient properly because the one she doesn't could be the one serious case that day . It's no good saying I'm sorry your child died but I had seen 20 time wasters it just doesn't work that way .

OriginalGreenGiant Fri 12-Dec-14 16:55:16

Wow macdoodle there's a lot of unnecessary venom in your post hmm

I wouldn't complain with the intention of 'making some poor GP feel awful'. But if a medical professional seems to be incompetent, then yes, i do think the patient needs to mention something. Yes, I get they're overworked etc but I still expect an adequate examination of my child.
I've seen two other GPs at the same surgery in the past, both brilliant, and I couldn't find a bad word to say about either. I'm not a precious silly pfb mummy that takes their child in with a cold, and I'm not a complainer by nature.

So you think it was a completely acceptable experience then? I should overlook an incorrect temperature, not being able to identify swollen glands, and the GP not looking at or speaking to her patient among the rest?

macdoodle Fri 12-Dec-14 16:58:40

I ask again, what would you hope to achieve by complaining?

PacificDogwood Fri 12-Dec-14 17:04:47

If you want to flag up anything, then speak to the practice manager about her manner. Her actions were in no way wrong from what you've written.

Sore throats whether viral or bacterial get better after 7-10 days - with or without antibiotics. They are hugely unpleasant, but really require regular pain relief, rest and fluids until they get better. Complications are rare and being unable to swallow is different from being to sore to swallow*.

Large, hard, tender lymph nodes at the neck show that the immune system is activated and doing its job, so could be argued to be 'normal' in the context of infection (viral or bacterial).

The main thing that makes children really lethargic and ill looking is their fever, so lowering that will help improve how he is in general.

I agree that you have to ask yourself what you would like to achieve with a complaint and what exactly you are complaining about.

I too struggle with the fearful society we live in that requires reassurance for fairly commonplace illnesses, but I don't pretend that I have the solution either.

I hope your DS feels better soon.

OriginalGreenGiant Fri 12-Dec-14 17:05:19

I don't flag it up in case she really is, generally incompetent.
In case the next child she takes the temperature of incorrectly leaves the Doctors with a temperature of 41 and convulses in the car on the way home?

To make sure it doesn't happen again I suppose and it's not illustrative of the 'depth' (or lack of) she goes into with all her patients, some of which may be really serious.

Queenoftheworld Fri 12-Dec-14 17:11:21

I am with you, Original.

Macdoodle, surely you would agree that patients should be met by professionalism? That would be the aim of the complaint.

Celticlass2 Fri 12-Dec-14 17:12:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Ohfourfoxache Fri 12-Dec-14 17:13:41

GP services ARE stretched beyond capacity - I don't think anyone truly understands just how much shit GPs and their staff have to put up with; not just from patients, but absolutely everything is target driven. You jump through hoops, you might get enough money to adequately treat your patients.

It sounds like the GP HAD had enough and was sick of seeing the same complaint over and over (probably facing similar arguments in the process).

That being said, from what is written in the op, the GP sounds rude, dismissive and inappropriate. I'm NHS myself, have been all my life, and I would be fucking crucified if I was rude to a patient. Being stressed and irritated by your job is no excuse.

And in terms of "what would you get out of a complaint" - well, sometimes it takes a complaint (or sometimes several) to make people realise that the way they speak to patients is unacceptable. The majority of Drs and nurses and HCPs I've come across are utterly fantastic, but as with all professions, there is a proportion that are less than wonderful on occasion.

NobodyLivesHere Fri 12-Dec-14 17:15:43

I dont see how she was incompetent Tbh. Thermometers don't always give correct readings, that's not her fault. The check list is a good idea to assess whether she was doing the right thing. And being able to feel glands doesn't mean they are overly inflamed. He got treatment. I Dont see the issue.

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