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Refused appt to diagnose rash (might be chickenpox) is this right?

(74 Posts)
springintheair Fri 19-May-06 10:43:33

I tried to make an appt for dd1 today but the practice manager said as her spots could potentially be chickenpox she couldn't come in. I was offered a health visitor appt instead (bizarrely the contagion thing didn't apply in this case because dd1 could be isolated apparently). When I said I was entitled to see a GP I was told I wasn't allowed to and this was nationaly policy. Is this right? Has anyone else been refused an appointment. Even when I said that I wasn't in a position to diagnose which is why I wanted to see a doctor and the spots could be anything including meningitis I was still refused. Told health visitors experienced and able to diagnose but I want to see a doctor about this and other things (dd2 has excema and 4 or 5 weird skin tags).

This is not the 1st time I've had probs with this practice. I have tried to make doctor appts several times before and been given a time to come down only to find this wasn't a doctor appt at all instead I had to wait in a queue to see a health visitor. The health visitor is nice and I'm sure highly competent and trained but as a health visitor not a doctor. Aren't I entitled to see a doctor if that's what I ask for? When I asked the health visitor to be referred to an alergy clinic for dd2 she said she would find out if this was possible, try to refer me to a dietiician and phone in a week to tell me about these things and check if hydrocortisione cream was working for dd2's excema. She never called back. Again is this just one of those things or should I be angry?

Advice please.

jellyjelly Fri 19-May-06 15:13:48

I think this is terrible, my ds hasnt had cp yet but when he does i will phone and get an appointment as i havent seen it before.

If you want a referel to an allergy specialist you should be able to get one. (i needed a referel as ds kept getting rashes and they kept saying it was viral which it couldtn be as it was after staying are my parents house- i went in and told them i wanted a referel and i got it). Good luck , i would get it sorted then change.

I dont think this is a naionwide thing as you do see cp kids in surgerys and i have known people that have taken kids in to get checked.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 19-May-06 15:17:14

I don't think it's unreasonable to refuse an appt for suspected chicken pox really. doctor's surgeries are usually full of people who are old or pregnant and chicken pox will do a lot more harm to them than to your dd. The NHSdirect website does say you probably won't get a GP appt.

What's wrong with seeing the HV?

Pixiefish Fri 19-May-06 15:19:05

I rand my docs when I thought dd had cp and said that's what I thought she had. was told to come down straight away and was seen by the doc.

As for the skin tags- have a search ofd the mN archives for Molluscum/Molloscum. That could be what they are

edam Fri 19-May-06 15:20:23

Think the receptionists are just living up to their stereotype. Seriously, this is appalling. National policy my arse. They don't actually know it is chickenpox until you see a doctor. It could be anything else - there are 1001 different causes of rashes.

My surgery just ask you to tell the receptionist when you arrive if your child has a rash. Then they put you in a room on your own, in case it is contagious.

Actually, you don't have to tell the receptionist why you want an appointment. It's confidential. So why not call back and ask for an appointment? If they question you, say 'I'll discuss my/ my daughter's business with the doctor in confidence, thank you.'

And write to the practice manager to complain, while you are about it.

jamiesam Fri 19-May-06 15:20:44

I can't ever recall being asked by the practice manager why I wanted an appt. Have never been 'fobbed off' with hv appt instead. For example I took ds1 to drs yesterday for a 'runny nose' - but as he's had it for 4 months, I'd have been a bit pis*ed off if all I'd got was sympathy from a hv - instead got anti-b's from dr and instruction to return next week to assess any change...

Does seem highly strange practice and I think you have a right to question - but i suspect that your alternatives might only be to change practice?

SenoraPostrophe Fri 19-May-06 15:21:20

it does vary from surgery to surgery though. an hv is perfectly capable of diagnosing chicken pox.

edam Fri 19-May-06 15:22:03

SP, agree chickenpox not great for other patients waiting to be seen, that's why sensible practices put kids with spots in a separate room. But you don't know if it's chickenpox until they are seen!

Kathy1972 Fri 19-May-06 15:23:59

At my doctor's you have to stand in a queue for 5-15 mins just to tell the receptionist you have arrived, so there would be plenty of time to pass your infectious diseases on to someone else before you could get put into a separate room.

springintheair Fri 19-May-06 18:39:18

If I knew it was chickenpox I agree I wouldn't need to see the doctor but I don't and neither does the practice manager or anyone else until I am seen by the doctor. She has v. pronounced spots but they are not fluid filled and not itchy and she has no other symptoms. I need to have a diagnosis because of nursery (who will need to alert other parents) and work (I'm a teacher and every one of my students has exams in the next couple of months so its not a great time to miss work) and because though it could be chickenpox it could also be something else.

Health visitors though I'm sure are wonderfully well trained and competent in their jobs (of health visiting) do not have the medical training of doctors. Last time I saw my HV she promised she would do various things for dd2 and did none of them. She also insisted on visiting dd2 every 2 weeks - 4 weeks from birth till she was well over a year old because she was below average on the weeight charts even though she was breast fed and I was aware of the research that breastfed babies shouldn't be compared to bottle fed babies. This caused me some anxiety and made me start thinkign there really was something wrong with dd2 when she's absolutely fine. She is absolutely well meaning but I really don't think her medical knowledge is up to much.

I have other reasons for wanting to see doctor too as outlined below (partly because the HV didn't do her job and give me advice about allergies following a severe reaction dd2 had to a nut which led to her having to go to A + E who advised me to go to GP). It makes sense to me to get all these things dealt with in one go. MOre convenient for me and GP. I'm a workign mum and haven't got time to go back and forth to docs about relatively minor things which nevertheless need sorting.

It stikes me that if you really weren't allowed to go to GP because you had a potentially infectious illness then surgeries would be pretty empty. You don't go to the doctor because you're well do you?

springintheair Fri 19-May-06 18:42:29

edam, I like that approach. Will see where that gets me next time. Also, think it's important that because dd1 goes to nursery whatever she has or hasn't got may be an issue for the other 100 or so children including young babies who go there.

spinach Fri 19-May-06 18:47:04

can see why taking suspected chicken pox into a surgery is problematic, and if thats their policy they should send a gp out to you, rather than a hv. i wouldnt want to catch cp from a visit to the doc, but i would also want a rash checked out by a doctor.

edam Fri 19-May-06 18:54:19

Springintheair, you made the point perfectly about why you need a diagnosis - it might be chickenpox (although doesn't sound typical) but it could equally be a lot of other things. I once edited a piece on differential diagnosis of rashes for a medical magazine and blimey, it's not easy!

chapsmum Fri 19-May-06 19:59:50

there is no national policy for not having children with chickenpox examined.
Chicken pox can be a mild childhood infection however in some very rare cases it can lead to more serious complications.
It is policy (common sence more than anythin) that if a child or anyone suspects they have an infectious disease they have a seperate area for the child to sit in.
Telephone triage and diagnosis should be left to highly trained professionals working from effective protocols ie nhs 24 and not gp receptionists.
If you would like to see a dr, make an appt, you do not have to tell the receptionist why.
When youget to the surgery you inform them that you belive your child may have an infectious disease. The rest is up to them.
Additionally a letter to the practise manager to inform her of the receptionist innapproriate telephone triage methods would not go amiss.

springintheair Fri 19-May-06 20:03:56

Thankyou edam and chapsmum. I was beginning to think I was being unreasonable to expect to see a GP at all. You sound v. knowledgeable chapsmum do you work in NHS?

TwoToTango Fri 19-May-06 20:04:06

When we suspected my ds had chicken pox last year I explained this to the receptionist and she told me to come in at the end of surgery so there would be none or only a couple of people there. I thought this was a sensible suggestion.

chapsmum Fri 19-May-06 20:08:22

Is it that obvious!!
I hasten to add I do not work in a GP surgery!!!

chapsmum Fri 19-May-06 20:10:12

Twoto Tango is right, and that is exactly what I did when I thought the chap had chicken pox, I may work in the NHS but I am still a first time mother!!
Anyway if you have a farily sensible surgery they should be able to accomidate you. Otherwise you just need to use a bit of common sense

springintheair Fri 19-May-06 20:13:20

chapsmum, it was the practice manager who first refused me an appointment. So who do I complain to? When I told him I was going to complain he said, 'You can do what you want'.

chapsmum Fri 19-May-06 23:27:11

ask for a copy of the complaints procedure.
The practise manager is usually one of the gps...not a receptionist...strange. Non the less if she is a manager and not doctor.
Would say write a letter to the practise manager and send a cover copy to the trust executive and the senoir partner in the pracise.


chapsmum Fri 19-May-06 23:33:08

What you want to know is that when you make an appt with a dr you will get one, and if you are seeing a Health visitor or other nurse, instead regarding a chilhood illness, they have undergone the nessesary (official) training to be able to diagnose and prescribe for these complaint. (Some Can). If they are not appropriately qualified, you want to know the triage system they are using for referrals, and how you gain access to a GP if you are not gettin what you feel you need for you child from the GP.

SparklyGothKat Fri 19-May-06 23:33:21

FFS what are they on about?? My Ds and Dd2 had CP so badly, it was in their eyes and mouths. Dd2 has a skin immunity problem and she was covered, making her very ill. I had to see a doctor, and we were put into a side room, and the doctor came to us.

springintheair Sat 20-May-06 08:08:28

Thanks chapsmum. Will follow your very sensible advice. Thanks all.

Laura032004 Sat 20-May-06 08:16:43

Haven't read anything but OP, but when ds had CP and we saw a GP, we told them in advance, and were just sat in a nurses room until our turn. We didn't actually go to see the GP about the CP as such, but more the fact I was worried some of the blisters were infected (nappy area). They were surprised that I hadn't already taken him in to have the CP 'diagnosed'. I hadn't even thought of doing so as all the kids in the street had it at the time.

In fact there is a notice at our surgery saying if you have a 'spotty child' to notify the receptionist on arrival so they can seat you separately, so no big deal at our GP's.

Maybe you could ask for a home visit if it's such a problem!

naswm Sat 20-May-06 08:19:05

springintheair - sorry you have had problems with this.

My DS2 became very ill with chicken pox last year (I knew it was chicken pox as he'd caught it from his older brother.) I called the out of hours emergency GP and explained I needed to see a dr (he ended up with anti-viral and anti-biotics for secondary infections). They were obviously used to seeing 'contagious' patients and directed me to a a separate door and led me straight in to a side room. I still had to wait in there for a long time before being seen but we did not come in to contact with any other patients.

What I'm saying is, there must be a policy or something for dealing with infectious illnesses - rather than fobbing you off?? I do hope you can get to see someone soon. I'd be very if I was you.

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