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Campaign to allow relatives/carers to talk to GP?

(5 Posts)
ZamMummyInGabs Fri 05-Aug-11 11:58:20

Not really sure where to put this, but here seems as good a place as any....
My parents are now in their 80's and over the years my Dad has cared alot for my Mum, when she had hips replaced etc. Recently tho it's been the other way around. He's been getting more vague & forgetful, had a cancer scare last year, and last month was almost hospitalized with c.difficile (diarrhea-causing superbug).
They have been with the same GP practice for 20plus years but the doctors there refuse to discuss one of them with the other, or with any of their children (there are 4 of us), due to Data Protection. They are both eager for this not to be the case and have asked on several occasions for their consent to be recorded, but no. They have both done living wills & lasting power of attorneys but apparently this is not enough. They have been told to "write a letter" to the GP stating their wishes, but the GP cannot advise as to the correct wording, but the letter must be "very precise" in order to be valid.
Why is there no standard form/template for this kind of situation? How do others manage?
My PIL went through this before FIL died - no-one was able to discuss his illness (dementia & cancer) with MIL, DH or SIL until he got so bad that he was hospitalized and judged incapable of making his own decisions. He died 2 months later. His last year(s) should have been so much easier - the whole family, including him, plus GP & SS should have been able to decide together, work together to help with taking medications. MIL & DH were sent away from the GP when they went to tell him that FIL was deteriorating.
My parents don't want to go through the same thing.
Anyone successfully written such a letter of consent to their GP? Any lawyers around?
How can we get this into something like a living will or organ donation form?
The Compassion in Dying people have done so much for dignity at the very end of life, but there's a long period before then when dignity & compassion are also lacking. Just because you're not actually "lacking capacity" doesn't mean that you don't need/wouldn't like some help from your partner &/or children.
(will also post in legal)

ElbowFan Fri 05-Aug-11 14:58:09

I spoke to my (late) father's GP when I was concerned about his failing health. The first thing she said was that she could not discuss him with me because of patient confidentiality. I explained that I quite understood her concern but suggested that if I ask questions requiring only a 'yes' or 'no' answer would she be able to respond?
She was most helpful in giving me information on all his tablets and later getting SS and 'mental health' teams together and ensuring that I was invited to attend psychiatric evaluations etc.
I don't know if your parents GP practice would accept yes/no questions or maybe one of you could accompany your Dad to his GP appointments? This would be at his request and is unlikely to breach any patient confidentiality issues as he would be present.
This is a horrid time for you - I hope you are successful in getting the discussions with the people you need to.
I suspect that a 'standard' letter to overcome the 'patient confidentiality' aspect of doctor:patient relationships is a minefield as not everyone would necessarily want the openness that your parents clearly do

readsalotgirl Thu 29-Sep-11 11:22:13

Surely if you have power of attorney that is sufficient. We have arranged POA for both financial and welfare matters. The welfare POA comes into paly when my mum is judged incapable of making decisions alone. Fortuantely although she is increasingly forgetful she is still "capable" but we are increasingly taking over running her life. I also would think that what Elbowfan says would apply - if you accompany your parent to the appointment and they are present during discussions there should be no concern. Have to say when I have contacted mum's GP/district nurses they have been happy to discuss concerns with me. Sounds like you've got some jobsworths there - not very helpful and very frustrating.

gingeroots Tue 11-Oct-11 21:15:44

That seems odd OP - my mothers GP is happy to discuss with me ,daughter .
I wrote a short note ,can't remember wording ,but something along lines of " I am happy for details of my care and medical treatment to be discussed with my daughter xxxxxx."
and got my mum to sign and date .
Why not send a note and see if it's acceptable ,if it's not ask what's wrong with it ?
Or better yet ,change GP ?

Dawndonna Tue 18-Oct-11 09:51:54

My husband has given his permission verbally. In fact he due to his difficulties he rarely goes to the surgery, I make an appointment in his name and go for him. The surgery are quite happy for this to happen.

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