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Really stressed about what I told my GP

(26 Posts)
User7288911 Mon 15-Jul-19 17:56:05

I was a heavy drinker for about 10 years. A couple of years ago I had a minor health issue (unrelated to alcohol) and admitted to my GP that I was drinking around 70 units a week. Due to wanting to improve my health and stop feeling like crap every day, since last summer I’ve cut down enormously, to the point where I drink about 10 units a week and have several dry months in the year as well.

When I spoke to the GP two years ago, he said I was drinking far too much, but didn’t prescribe me any medication or suggest I attend AA meetings. He just advised that I should cut down to the recommended 14 units per week. I haven’t had any further dealings with him since, as I’ve had no need to see a doctor. I’ve no idea what’s actually on my records.

What I’d like to know is, who can see my medical records and could this admission to my GP affect my ability to get a mortgage or start a family in the future? I regret ever saying anything now, but I assumed at the time that everything discussed with a doctor would be 100% confidential sad Does anyone know?

lavenderbluedilly Mon 15-Jul-19 18:37:19

If you apply for life insurance, they might send your GP a form to complete, but this can only be done with your permission. These forms typically have a section related to alcohol, but many will only ask for the last 3-5 years of information. I’d be inclined to ask your GP to record your current alcohol intake at your next appointment.

MoMandaS Mon 15-Jul-19 18:42:37

Nobody can see your GP records except other GPs in the same practice (if they have reason to access them) or in a new practice if you move and ask for your records to be transferred.

User7288911 Mon 15-Jul-19 18:51:13

Thank you! That has put my mind at rest a little bit sad

Livebythecoast Mon 15-Jul-19 19:59:54

I'll keep it simple as no, I'm not a GP or nurse or indeed qualified but....
To put your mind at rest I would ask for an appointment with the nurse for a WWC/WMC (well woman or man check).
They'll do blood pressure/weight etc and send you for a routine/basic blood test which covers FBC (full blood count) kidney, liver/cholesterol etc which will highlight any problems or none as the case may be. This will then be on your GP records.
There are lots of elements to each blood test; for example, liver function won't just highlight an alcohol problem. FBC won't just highlights if you're aneamic, they cover so much more.
The only thing it might possibly effect is if you were to consider fostering or adopting as your medical records are scrutinised for obvious reasons but for mortgages etc, no.
disclaimer - only going by personal experiences and knowledge to help OP not to worry.

LunaTheCat Mon 15-Jul-19 20:03:36

Don’r Worry OP. Heaps of people drink too much when younger and all they need is brief advice - which is exactly what you did.
As above go and make WWC with nurse.
You could write a letter to doctor too thanking him/her

User7288911 Mon 15-Jul-19 20:34:07

The only thing it might possibly effect is if you were to consider fostering or adopting as your medical records are scrutinised for obvious reasons but for mortgages etc, no.

Oh god - so if I wanted to adopt in the future I’d be prevented from doing so? I wish I’d lied to my GP tbh.

User7288911 Mon 15-Jul-19 20:37:26

I actually did a WWC at the time I admitted this to the doctor and all turned out fine.

Livebythecoast Mon 15-Jul-19 21:04:48

As you will see from my post I said 'possibly effect' and also emphasised I was going by personal experiences and deliberately put this as a disclaimer.

Lindellia Mon 15-Jul-19 21:07:38

Nobody can see your GP records except other GPs in the same practice

That’s not quite true - everyone who works at the practice who has an account on the IT system (so everyone) can technically see your records.

Obviously, they’d need to have reason to access them though.

Lindellia Mon 15-Jul-19 21:08:49

OP - are you over 40? If so, you’re eligible for a free NHS Health Check. This would give you the opportunity to provide up to date figures on your alcohol intake, so your notes could be updated.

RubberTreePlant Mon 15-Jul-19 21:30:39

Heavy drinking is so common in the UK. Historical heavy drinking couldn''t possibly be automatic fail for adoption or anything else. Jiat get up to date info recorded somehow.

ChoccieEClaire Mon 15-Jul-19 21:41:03

You can put in a freedom of information request to the GP surgery to get a copy of your records. That was you can see exactly what has been written

pisspawpatrol Mon 15-Jul-19 21:46:49

To give you some reassurance, maybe;

I have told doctors about self harming and also made a suicide attempt. It did not stop me being allowed IVF. They asked whether I was well at the time of the fertility treatment and wanted to know I had or was seeing a therapist. The fertility clinic found out about my suicide attempt through my medical record.

User7288911 Mon 15-Jul-19 21:48:01

Thanks all. I feel I’d have been better off lying to my GP rather than telling the truth, which isn’t great!

User7288911 Mon 15-Jul-19 21:49:31

Thanks pisspaw and sorry to hear you’ve been through such difficult times x

AppleKatie Mon 15-Jul-19 21:51:43

I imagine it would be something social services would ask you about if you wanted to adopt but given your recovery and lack of ongoing problem it wouldn’t be a complete barrier I don’t think.

<disclaimer not a social worker>

NCforthis2019 Mon 15-Jul-19 21:52:42

I’m not sure but when I changed practices the new GP had all my old information - I guess it’s all on one large server?

Sorryisntgoodenough Mon 15-Jul-19 21:52:47

It would have been noted so it will be on the records and they wouldn’t offer medication or suggest AA at that stage. They would generally just note it and add a comment “suggested pt reduce alcohol intake” or “advised re alcohol intake” or something similar with it being the first mention.

Well done on reducing your alcohol BTW!

Progged22 Mon 15-Jul-19 21:53:26

You can ask for your records to see what on there

urbanlife Mon 15-Jul-19 22:10:41

Amazing to have reduced your intake, well done and definitely keep it up!

Ask for a copy of your medical records
Ask for your medical records to be private and taken off the national system. So in future they will not be available to anyone at all (Do not do this if you have a major health problem or chronic condition)

Thecurtainsofdestiny Mon 15-Jul-19 22:14:25

Agree with PP that you get your current alcohol use recorded in your notes.

Hecateh Mon 15-Jul-19 22:24:26

My GP knows that I drink around 70 units a week and have been doing on and off for the past 10 years at least.

I have regular blood tests because I am hypothyroid and the GP adds liver function test every time.

I have access to my records online (and everyone can if they request at the surgery and fill in the forms)

Nowhere does it show how much alcohol I drink though it does show my regular liver test results which are all fine.

Rufus27 Mon 15-Jul-19 23:22:54

Re adoption
Please don’t worry, OP. You would still be considered for adoption providing you can demonstrate that the drinking is not part of your current lifestyle. What SWs will look for is honesty about your past and a willingness to discuss the journey. I say that as someone who has adopted twice, despite having had medical issues in the past.

GlacierMints Mon 15-Jul-19 23:28:32

Nobody can see your GP records except other GPs in the same practice (if they have reason to access them) or in a new practice if you move and ask for your records to be transferred.

This isn't true. Apart from the practicalities - other people in the practice, hacks and so on - if you are ever involved in civil litigation in which you make a claim for personal injury, your medical records are disclosable documents. This means you have to give copies of them to the defendant, his/her medical expert and lawyers. If you are ever involved in criminal activity, the police or the CPS may be able to access your medical records again if relevant and the lawyers will see them.

Most of the time it is unlikely that others will see them but its wrong to say will never happen.

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