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Wasting GPs' time?

(126 Posts)
buckingfrolicks Wed 25-May-16 20:45:37

Watching Behind Closed Doors what amazes me is how people are going to their GP about things I would never think of going to the doctors with.

Athletes foot. A sore leg. A sore throat. Being scared of flying.

AIBU to think it is a waste of NHS resources to take these matters to the gps?

Onlyicanclean10 Wed 25-May-16 20:49:11

No because in my experience as a district nurse, some people approach you with an excuse for the real problem.

OrangeSquashTallGlass Wed 25-May-16 20:54:07

I'm watching too.

I agree with you on some of the others but the anxiety one was an absolutely acceptable reason to visit the GP in my opinion.

WordsAreWind Wed 25-May-16 20:54:12

GP's could prescribe a mild sedative fir flying.

AnotherStitchInTime Wed 25-May-16 20:59:52

Athletes foot could need stronger anti fungal medication than that available over the counter.
A sore leg could be cellulitis, arthritis, sciatica. ..
A sore throat could be tonsillitis.
Flying anxiety, as others have said medication could help.

anotherBadAvatar Wed 25-May-16 21:00:11

I'm not a GP but it's pretty obvious why GPs wouldn't like prescribing a sedative for someone flying.

By asking them to prescribe you're asking them to take responsibility for your safety. you may have never had the drug before/have an unpredictable reaction to it/may mix it with alcohol/become over-sedated and unrousable at 30,000ft with limited medical equipment on board.

Far, far better to put your efforts into a fear of flying course or hypnosis or something.

CombineBananaFister Wed 25-May-16 21:00:58

Some people are so selfabsorbed they don't care if its wasting a GPs time. My friend went with constipation once, another went who didn't want to pay for headlice shampoo (but could well afford it)
Then I have to fight for an appointment for Ds who's asthma can turn on a hare's whisker because of these idiots and those who don't even bother to turn up to precious appointments ....grrr.
Still there are those who think it's a minor ailment but have a gut feeling it might not be or actually its an excuse to talk about bigger things that they're embarassed to mention at first as Only said

gandalf456 Wed 25-May-16 21:02:14

I've known people get sedatives for flying but it was a few years ago.

Sore legs and throats could be anything and could be serious if going on for a long time. Even if it turns out to be trivial, at least you can have your mind put at rest.

My DH gets foot infections from athletes foot and needs really strong cream.

WordsAreWind Wed 25-May-16 21:04:50

Athletes foot may need to have a stronger prescribed medication because over the counter remedies may not be working. Or there may be an underlying issue if the athletes foot is a chronic problem.

There's many reasons why a leg could be sore other than just mildly knocking it or straining it. Problems with tendons, muscles, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis etc.

Sore throat is the only one that seems a bit unreasonable in your list, but again it depends on circumstances.

Health problems are rarely black and white

lessthanBeau Wed 25-May-16 21:21:11

I get diazapam for flying from gp, however now I can just get a phone consultation when I need a new scrip, usually every 2 years. They prescribe enough so I dont have to have a new scrip every holiday. It's not unusual at all. If I could buy it over the counter I would, I don't care to go on fear of flying courses or do hypnosis , the drugs work for me , I pay my taxes and Ni so why shouldn't I access them via my gp.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 25-May-16 21:25:22

As we get so little medicine over the counter, we need GPs to prescribe things like sedatives etc for flying.

Also, there is a belief that the things a doctor prescribes are stronger than what you get over the counter- whilst sometimes this is true, it isn't in every case.

tinyterrors Wed 25-May-16 21:48:09

The thing is many seemingly mild problems can have a serious underlying cause, or if something like constipation is ongoing, and over the counter medication doesn't work, may need investigations to find the cause and be treated by a gp.

I went to the nurse practitioner earlier this year with a sore throat, was told there was yellow spots on my throat but to just take painkillers and drink plenty of fluids, two days later I was spitting up blood and unable to swallow water so went back to the gp which some people would say was wasting gp's time. Turns out I had quinsy and my throat was starting to close, cue two weeks of antibiotics and almost being admitted to hospital because the gp thought my throat may close completely before the antibiotics kicked in. All for a just a sore throat.

Noodledoodledoo Wed 25-May-16 21:48:29

Well I currently have Athletes foot - have self medicated, after 4 days it still wasn't showing any signs of clearing up so I read the packet - after 7 days of treatment it says to go see the doctor.

I do self medicate most things, It took me 11 weeks to finally go to the doctors with a constant cold, sinus pain, horrendous cough that was making me sick - as a GP can't give you anything for a cold. Turned out I did need antibiotics to get rid of the infection I had. I am not a desperate for antibiotics kind of person but when you can't move your head without extreme pain sometimes you need something.

Some do waste GP's time but others do try a lot of things first.

saltlakecity Wed 25-May-16 21:50:54

I agree with you op. Lots on tonight's show that I wouldn't have gone to the gp for. I go to the docs maybe once every couple of years. I've had niggles and illnesses but nothing that warrants a gp's attention.

Lifeisontheup2 Wed 25-May-16 22:03:40

I get a prescription for diazepam for flying, the GP has never queried giving it to me, after the first time I was able to request it by email or a telephone appointment. I have tried a fear of flying course to no avail and would be happy to pay for a private prescription for it.

Other than that I rarely go for anything else, my betablocker and antihistamine is dealt with by repeat prescriptions and don't require an appointment.
I do think people waste resources going to GP's with regular visits for things which can be dealt with via OTC medications and for things which are self limiting. I don't get prescriptions for anything which can be bought OTC.

Myusernameismyusername Wed 25-May-16 22:09:34

I took DD the other day because she was really complaining about something and it turned out to be something utterly trivial and I felt really stupid. I apologised for wasting his time!

jamdonut Wed 25-May-16 22:12:58

I hardly ever go to the GP. I take paracetamol or ibuprofen for pains, and see how things go. The last time I went was about a year ago for an ear infection which started to affect my jaw and I couldn't eat properly. Ibuprofen wasn't working, so I knew it was a doctor problem.

I never go for coughs/ colds unless coughing up wildly coloured sputum,..then you know you have an infection.

I used to have tonsillitis as a teenager,so I know what a bad one feels like,and dont get them like that any more.

No one seems prepared to wait for things to pass.
With colds, I was always told they are 5 days coming, 5 days here, and 5 days going. That's a fortnight. If you still feel crap after that amount of time THEN go see the doctor.

Drmum123 Wed 25-May-16 22:14:48

I am a doctor ( not a gp) but a paediatric doctor. I have sometimes spent all night in a and e seeing fairly minor ailments. But I actually don't mind. The thing is what might seem really minor to me, or even you, might be really concerning someone else. I would rather spend ten minutes in the middle of the night looking at a baby/ child who is fine and reassure the parents than have someone sitting at home worrying and unable to sleep. If someone is unwell and they don't know what to do about it, they should see a doctor. But the flip side is, you might have to wait! Obviously be sensible and do what you can at home, but if you at stuck try and access the appropriate service! That's what they are there for!

YoungGirlGrowingOld Wed 25-May-16 22:19:48

I think YANBU OP - we seem to have lost common sense when it comes to treating minor self-limiting illness.

However, with my GP, you might as well go for every trifling thing because his first response is usually "come back in 2 weeks if it's still bothering you". Even if I tell him I have already had it for 2 weeks and have used OTC meds to no avail.

I have started buying Trimethoprim otc in one of the countries where I work because it's so difficult to get an appointment when I get a bout of cystitis.

starry0ne Wed 25-May-16 22:20:06

I went once for dry skin round my eyes.. I felt really embarrassed but had struggled for 3 years, spent so much money on different treatments.. I did get a cream from GP which has made everything so much better.

My DS was also prescribed a medication that they refused to put on repeat and wanted to see him every month. however they never actually examined him each month..He ended up referred to hosp and now is on repeat.

I agree not everything needs an appointment and I wish the pharmacist was given more autonomy in this country like abroad.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Wed 25-May-16 22:23:03

Well, I don't know.

I actually have terrible anxiety about going to see the GP, because of these sorts of things. I had a prolapsed disc in February and anyone who has experienced similar will know how awful it is. Real, genuine, constant pain, detrimental to my mental health, exhaustion ... But I felt like a time waster.

I want a baby but am actually highly anxious about medical intervention. I know it's illogical but I really feel it, I just hate doctors.

Kennington Wed 25-May-16 22:24:05

Drmum it is really nice you feel like that but by babying everyone the system isn't working anymore.
I think the NHS won't be free access soon and this minor ailment time wasting doesn't help.
Sedatives for flying? Try taking piriton? Athletes foot might take a couple of weeks to go, some cream and ramping up hygiene and chucking away trainers. The GPs didn't study for so long to work any of this out.

YoungGirlGrowingOld Wed 25-May-16 22:25:39

Kennington I agree with you about sedatives for flying. Isn't that why gin was invented?? grin

NapQueen Wed 25-May-16 22:30:13

If I mention that I have a cold or a cough, a relative always asks "have you been to the doctors?" - why would I? Your GP must be pig sick of you if you go for a cough or cold. And we are close enough for her to know it isn't recurring or debilitating.

A friend of mine is a GP and she said every now and then a minor thing indicates a major thing, and for that reason, it's worth seeing everyone they can. She also said most of her visits would he reduced or removed if everyone took vitamin d grin

Emochild Wed 25-May-16 22:32:12

Last time I went to the GP was several years ago to get my passport signed and they wouldn't do it because they didn't recognise me

I know i'm very lucky to not need a doctor but I think quite a few of the patients on behind closed doors are there because they are lonely

Also -they've all been triaged over the phone and been told to see the doctor so you can't really say they are time wasting

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