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Campaign to allow relatives/carers to talk to GP

(6 Posts)
ZamMummyInGabs Fri 05-Aug-11 11:59:42

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 Carers)

Collaborate Fri 05-Aug-11 12:09:00

Please accept this letter as continuing authority for you to discuss my health with x.

I intend that this authority will continue until withdrawn by me.

Collaborate Fri 05-Aug-11 12:09:36

As a solicitor something similar is enough to get hold of a copy of a client's medical records.

onthebackseat Fri 05-Aug-11 15:46:34

They need to see a solicitor and complete a Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare appointing each other and then the 4 of you as replacement attorneys. Register it with the court and then send a copy to the GP.

Cost is about £1,000 all in.

sleeplessinderbyshire Sat 06-Aug-11 09:13:39

I am a GP (don't hate me please...) we accept a letter saying "I give my consent for my health to be discussed with x" as long as it is signed and has patient's name, DOB and address that is fine

I have several elderly patients who do this (and some younger ones as well) it's les to do with data protection and more to do with patient confidentiality and the GMC. Another option is to accompany said relative to the GPs each time but easier to be able to chat on phone too

EdithWeston Sat 06-Aug-11 09:30:52

The way in which Power of Attourney is drawn up changed a few years ago. Those signed before the change cover everything. Since then, there are two parts; one financial and one for health well-being. The latter covers your concerns exactly.

It is not a question of data protection, but confidentiality. The lasting power of attorney deals with this. You say that there is one in place, and I cannot see why on earth the practice does not accept it. Could you have the solicitor who drew it up write a letter explaining its legal force?

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