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Why the hell has my new GP done this.(13 Posts)
I've had acute and chronic back pain for years caused by an accident which has caused job losses and relationship breakups.
After years of pain and now in my fifties I have finally got my medication sorted out so that I can live a full and happy life without being over medicated or sleepy and I feel completely normal.
I got a brilliant new job and moved to the West country, the first meeting with my GP and he spends an hour "telling me off" like a 5 year old child until I was in tears and I am a strong person, I have to be to deal with all this, says my medication is "ridiculous" and halves everything and takes me off the main one. Says I need to go and do meditation and "learn to live with pain", talks down to me as if I'm 5.
Amost immediately I am in absolute agony, in horrendous withdrawal because you are supposed to come off this stuff gradually not all at once, suicidal and my work in my new job immediately starts slipping and I start making awful mistakes because my head is all over the place, I felt suicidal and started to think about suicide every day.
I changed GPs immediately and after a month of wrangling because of course coronavirus put a stop to all normal appointments was put straight back on all my medication, my new GP was appalled at the state I was in.
I still don't feel right and my head is all over the place I've begun to get paranoid that I won't get my medication when it's due and I've had a look at the life I have if some random medic decides to take me off all my medication suddenly and leave me in the shit.
I don't mind trying to come off it at intervals occasionally if weaned off it slowly to try something else or decrease my dose that's fine but to be sent away with no prescription at all after being used to quite a cocktail?
I know about addiction but I'm also not stupid, I don't go over the prescription dose and I often cut back gradually for a while for my own good.
I wish meditation would work but I've had my MRI scans explained to me and told in no uncertain terms there is nothing that can be done for me surgically and I have to live with the damage which up until now I have very well.
I know I will not live as long as everyone else and thats fine but I need what remains of my life to be one of quality not lying on my back in bed. I want to work, meet friends, celebrate occasions with my family like everyone else.
I want to take this guy to court, I don't need to be spoken to like a five year old, to be ripped of all my drugs and sent into horrendous withdrawal and told to meditate, he didn't even look at my MRI's or medical reports from the pain clinic.
Would I be right to do so?
No court will be drawn out, stressful and tiresome and it will make your new GP wary of you. However, a meadured letter to the clinical lead for his CCG may make you feel better and may cause more ripples than will be admitted behind the scenes.
For your peace of mind might it be worth investing in a private apt with the consultant who dealt with your MRI's setting out definitive advice re your optimum medication. Not many GPs will ignore a consultant's advice.
Morally sure, but realistically it's not going to get anywhere.
If withdrawal is known to be dangerous for any of those particular drugs then you report to the gmc for that. But unfortunately pain and pain relief necessity/effectiveness are subjective, I believe what you feel but I can also understand how v someone who hasn't been in such pain or who finds meditation effective might not. That's why you are always entitled to a second independent opinion.
No you wouldn’t be right to “take this guy to court”. You would be right to lodge a complaint with the practice manager and refer up if needs be.
My exDP has a number of serious back problems ultimately the result of his career (heritage stonemason) - he’s in his mid 50s and like you takes an enormous amount of pain relief to stay “functioning”. He has cervical and spinal stenosis in 5 places, and severe myelopathy. At times he is unable to use his left leg, and has lost all feeling in his left hand. He is unable to work, to have full weekends with our son alone (in case he has a sudden surge in pain) and has had a relapse into alcoholism.
He has also had issues with locums refusing to issue his pain relief.
He’s ineligible for surgery (also has rheumatoid arthritis which would probably make an op to widen the space around his spinal cord and fuse his vertebrae more trouble than it’s worth) and there’s no treatment beyond six monthly steroid injections (which wear off) and osteopathy (which luckily a qualified friend does for free) that helps at all.
His usual doctor is great- but other doctors unaware of his history, and unable to go through it all in a 10 minute appointment, balk at the amount of medication he’s on.
It’s not “okay” but he’s actually stockpiled a few months of medication at both our houses, so that if he’s ever here visiting and gets stuck, or if his regular GP is unavailable at home, he won’t have to go through withdrawal/ symptom exacerbation, until he can next see his regular GP.
Unfortunately for long term chronic pain there is often little that can be done and GPs have been encouraged in recent years to push “management” through mindfulness etc. It’s cost saving ultimately, some “tough love” thrown in, and some legitimate concerns about side effects. But mostly cost saving IMO.
It’s widespread across the NHS, and the best advice I can give you is to be calm with doctors so they don’t think you’re drug seeking, have your full diagnosis written and to hand, so that doctors can look at that quickly (quote from surgeons letters etc if needs be eg “this gentleman is in severe and constant pain due to severe and irreparable damage to the c5 vertebrae”) with dates and letter references so they can refer back, and make sure you have enough medication to tide you over if needs be.
Also comply with requests to see pain clinic etc- however useless it seems to you, being seen to comply with non pharmaceutical support is hugely important.
Court would just add to your stress and mental health issues. Really, don't even consider it.
Get some help (maybe from these people www.healthwatch.co.uk )
with writing a very clear letter, concise, with time lines, and worded as unemotionally as possible, and send it to one of the places suggested in these links
You could write a letter of complaint to the gp practice. What did your current gPsay, are you back on the meds or stil on the same as the disliked gP gsvr you.
Have you considered that the way you felt afterwards was due to withdrawal effects because you are now addicted to dangerous medication and that in essence he was right about insisting you reduce it?
He might have gone about it wrongly, but there is an epidemic of people addicted to pain treatment that should only be short term. People on street drugs also feel much better when they take it and can only function on it, it doesn't mean it isn't destroying their health.
Going ahead and take him to court but do take into consideration that it could end up exposing the others GPs of malpractice for prescribing the level of drugstore on rather than this GP.
I was put on this medication regime by the pain clinic after a few years of treatment of various types, cortisone injections, denervation surgeries and so on and told I'd likely be on it for life.
I've gradually withdrawn from all of my medication several times whilst there and been supported with physio, injections etc but it hasn't worked and I've been pretty much bedbound.
It was decided I'd be better off on the drugs so I can work and enjoy my life rather than spend the rest of it in bed on benefits which I don't want.
My old GP didn't even look at half my notes he just looked at the medication, I asked him several questions about the pain clinic summaries and he couldn't answer them and spent a great deal of time fumbling around on the computer before getting pissed off and telling me I can't be on all these drugs.
My new GP, I asked him to go through the pain clinic notes before our appointment, got there and he gave me a prescription for all of my drugs back and apologised.
My pain clinic consultant wrote all those letters so this wouldn't happen. We agreed a plan of treatment so I could live a full life and being taken off all my drugs isn't in the plan of treatment.
I've not increased my analgesia in a good few years, I'm comfortable at this level.
When I feel my medication is getting to the point it's not working I wean myself down for a couple of months and then back up, it works for me and means I don't need ever increasing doses.
Thanks for all your advice, I'll put a complaint in at the previous surgery (I've moved to a different area) and see what happens.
All I could think was that my last GP surgery was in a deprived area with lots of alcohol and drug addiction, I was living there temporarily while I looked for a house to buy.
The new GP practise is in my new home, a lovely rural village that doesn't have a high level of social problems. I'm wondering if that coloured his view.
My GP has ignored advice from my Cardiologist a couple of times. The most serious was that I was left to my own devices in tracking the cause of my substantial weight loss over the previous 6 months.
I succeeded in finding one I definietly wanted to have ruled out -CANCER.
After months of fobbing me off and not believing me my suspicion of cancer was CONFIRMED, via a procedure I had asked for and already refused. I got no apology either.
Also a friend 's GP - not mine-. disagreed with the specialist 's decision that she should not have the steroid injection after he saw the MRI pictures. G P insisted she did and overturned the specialist's decision.
I also read the GPs have the power to have the last word which seems to be true!?
@dontdisturbmenow have you even read the OP? Did you miss the part where she has tried absolutely everything else, she understands the risks, she takes it responsibly and hasn’t increased the dose in years? You’re not wrong about the epidemic of addiction but it is VERY dangerous and frankly inhumane to use that fact to deny pain relief to a legitimate patient who needs it and uses it responsibly. Lucky for you that you can’t relate to the kind of unrelenting pain the OP experiences, but why should she not be able to make an informed decision under the guidance of the pain clinic about her treatment? Are you really suggesting she would be better off bed bound and medication free??
Don’t even suggest she has any other choice unless you are a back pain specialist and have reviewed the OP’s medical records.
I am very fortunate that I only had a year of intense back pain, but at its worse it was indistinguishable from the pain of established labour. Not something you can put out if your mind.
Did you miss the part where she has tried absolutely everything else, she understands the risks, she takes it responsibly and hasn’t increased the dose in years?
Pain management has gone through much reviews recently because it was assessed that some drugs were prescribed much too eagerly in the past.
As you've indicated OP, due to the locality it might very well be that your GO wasn't allowed by the local CCG to prescribe that level of pain drugs.
In most cases, you should be under a shared care arrangement between your pain clinic and GP, so the pain consultant prescribe the regime and your GP follows up.
Are you still under the care of the pain clinic?