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Do I have a legitimate grievance?

(56 Posts)
tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 12:09:24

The situation is this: About twenty years ago, I was bullied by my GP to the extent that I became shaky and ill in his presence and also felt unable to visit the surgery. We are in a remote location - this effectively made it almost impossible for me to have access to health care. Two years later, my DP developed terminal cancer and required ongoing medical care. At this point a letter to my MP brought about 'reconciliation process'. This achieved nothing, my GP would not acknowledge that he had created a problem. My DP died traumatically at home - pulmonary embolism on the kitchen floor. It wasn't dealt with well. At the time I had three primary school children. I was both extremely stressed and traumatised and I was unable to get the help and support I needed at the surgery because of the previous bullying. I am now being treated for PTSD , I have fallen to pieces and my life is a mess. I didn't have access to the help that I needed at the time due to the actions of my GP.

My question is this: do I have any valid reasons to sue - and if I do how might I go about it?

Isadora2007 Wed 01-Feb-17 12:12:23

Reasons? Perhaps. Evidence? Sounds unlikely.

Perhaps counselling to help you to move on would be a better focus than revisiting the past with a vengeance focus that will probably not actually ever see fruition.

Fallonjamie Wed 01-Feb-17 12:13:56

How did the GP bully you?

MrsNuckyThompson Wed 01-Feb-17 12:15:42

You are almost certainly out of time to sue.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 14:02:12

Thank you all for replying. I want to explore this.

Isadora2007 It's not a vengeance thing. It's not personal. I knew at the time, I' d been pushed into an impossible corner, but had too many other things to deal with. I am having counselling - and am seeing this event and it's long standing effect on my emotional and mental health more clearly.
Evidence - that's the problem with bullying. I said I didn't feel able to consult him any more. He said " this will not affect my ability to treat you". There's some letters from the time. It's the fact that I wasn't able to get help at an acute time of need and that I was steam rollered in the conciliation process. I also didn't have the choice to change my GP.

Fallonjamie I was employed in the surgery. He began a campaign to get rid of me.

MrsNuckyThompson The thing is, I've only recently found out that PTSD is a big problem in my life.

Fallonjamie Wed 01-Feb-17 14:10:56

What would you be suing for though? You have to have something in mind and see if it would even be possible.

Why couldn't you see a different GP in the same surgery or change your GP surgery?

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 14:35:29

Fallonjamie Suing for financial compensation for not being able to access appropriate trauma and bereavement support following the death of my partner, and the subsequent development of PTSD which might have been avoided had I had access to this support.

I couldn't see a locum GP because even entering the surgery was traumatic. I couldn't go to another surgery because it involved an overnight stay.

Fallonjamie Wed 01-Feb-17 14:43:10

I think you'll struggle to prove that a GP 20 years ago scared you so much you were unable to see another GP and you now have PTSD because of it. I don't mean that to sound harsh by the way.

ReginaGeorgeinSheepsClothing Wed 01-Feb-17 14:44:49

Would your GP not just have had to refer you for counselling? I think Cruise take self referrals for bereavement counselling? Are you in one of the Scottish Isles as I think you can access counselling/GPs over Skype perhaps?

expatinscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 14:50:44

'Suing for financial compensation for not being able to access appropriate trauma and bereavement support following the death of my partner, and the subsequent development of PTSD which might have been avoided had I had access to this support.'

It will be nigh on impossible to prove this as the cause of your PTSD on balance of probability because it could have been caused by witnessing your partner's illness and traumatic death. It can also be argued that there a number of charities and organisations that provide bereavement support and do not require GP referral. Finally, this all happened 18 years ago.

I think it's ridiculous to try to sue, tbh.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 14:52:10

Fallonjamie There is some paperwork - correspondence with the GMC that is about the bullying and also, following DPs death, the Procurator Fiscal.

ReginaGeorgeinSheepsClothing I have counselling now. Skype was a bit unheard of in 1999/2000...

expatinscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 14:58:03

But that's not proof of the cause of your PTSD. It can be argued that your husband's illness and traumatic death were also factors in your condition's development.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 15:01:41

expatinscotland - thanks for your input. It might be ridicuous but it's something that's playing on my mind and now I want to explore it as a possibility. Maybe it is ridiculous - but I know that the impact of bullying by a GP in a remote location was minimised /denied by the representatives of the GMC at the time of the conciliation process, and I felt very powerless after that.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 15:04:20

expatinscotland yes, my DP's illness and traumatic death were triggers for PTSD - but appropriate support afterwards might have prevented this. This is the key point

expatinscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 15:04:56

True, but what you have to prove on balance of probability is that this was the sole cause of your PTSD, which is going to be very hard to prove given your husband's illness and traumatic death and that the GP actively prevented you from accessing bereavement support.

blueskyinmarch Wed 01-Feb-17 15:05:53

So the issue with your GP wasn’t actually to do with him being your doctor but with your employment in the surgery? Then there was the issue when your DP died suddenly which sounds enormously stressful. You feel that following this you couldn’t go to the health centre of support and now find that you are still suffering from PTSD?

I think you need to be able to find a way to find closure for yourself, and within yourself, for this. I don’t believe suing the GP will be helpful or successful. It sounds to me like you need someone who specialises in PTSD and who can offer EMDR to help your mind to process what happened during that period.

Fallonjamie Wed 01-Feb-17 15:12:42

I don't think OP is saying she has PTSD because of the GP; she's saying she might not have developed PTSD following her DPs death if she'd got help at the time.

The the crux of the matter though is your GP surgery were happy to carry on seeing you and willing to do so despite you having made complaints about the GP.

They didn't exclude you from their services, you did. You had means to access the support, you chose not to.

It might not be fair but that's the reality.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 15:16:36

blueskyinmarch I'm having trauma therapy (CRM)and feel better about things than I have for a long time. I don't want to sue the GP, I want to sue the GMC who were aware of the situation and chose to protect the GP rather than my access to healthcare.

expatinscotland yes, this is the tricky bit. Not having access to appropriate support isn't enough?

expatinscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 15:23:16

'I don't want to sue the GP, I want to sue the GMC who were aware of the situation and chose to protect the GP rather than my access to healthcare.

expatinscotland yes, this is the tricky bit. Not having access to appropriate support isn't enough?'

But they did not deny you access to healthcare, you did. The surgery was happy to carry on seeing you despite your complaint. You had 'access to appropriate support' but chose not to pursue it.

I don't see how such a suit can be successful and tbh, I think blue is right.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 15:26:04

Fallonjamie Thanks - you have articulated what I was trying to express.
The outcome of the conciliation process was exactly that, we are willing to treat you. There was no attempt to address the influence of bullying on a patient/doctor relationship. It was a very difficult situation to deal with. I thought it was wrong at the time, and I still think it is wrong. Particularly in a remote location. I'm sure that that contributed to the PTSD too.

Fallonjamie Wed 01-Feb-17 15:26:08

So the GMC investigated and didn't find the GP at fault? The GP told you your complaint wouldn't affect the surgery seeing you (some GP surgeries would remove someone from their books following a big complaint/repeated small complaints).

You did have access to health care. You choosing not to access it isn't the fault of the GMC.

tormentil Wed 01-Feb-17 15:30:33

But they did not deny you access to healthcare, you did. The surgery was happy to carry on seeing you despite your complaint. You had 'access to appropriate support' but chose not to pursue it.

In a bullying situation I thought this was wrong at the time and I still think it.

However, I take your thoughts and opinions on board and will leave it there - thank you all very much for your input.

expatinscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 15:31:13

Thing is, there's no case to answer. The GP was not found to be at fault and you were not denied access to care. It's concerning that you're focusing so much on this rather than on treating your condition.

OlennasWimple Wed 01-Feb-17 15:33:12

TBH I think you need to explore ways to get closure on the GP / surgery stuff and move on. I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt very much that you would be able to bring a successful claim against the GMC particularly as so much time has passed. So rather than get caught into a "I should have been able to sue but I can't" negative spiral, you need to find a way to proceed with your life and look to the future.

flowers I don't mean for that to sound harsh, BTW, and I'm glad you are accessing support services now

expatinscotland Wed 01-Feb-17 15:34:45

'In a bullying situation I thought this was wrong at the time and I still think it. '

That may well be true but they disagreed with your opinion. What did you want to see happen (I'm guessing the GP's dismissal or being struck off) is neither here nor there. You were not denied access to healthcare and cannot prove this is the cause of your PTSD.

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