My doctor and I have a mutual friend

(81 Posts)
TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 06:22:22

I have a friend who means well, really cares about me, but is one of those people who needs to know everything and be in the thick of it all the time. She is a doctor.

I recently made an appointment to speak to another doctor, in a completely different field. This doctor is a very good friend of my friend. I only casually know her. Our DDs were at nursery together.

I got a text last night from my friend saying she was talking to her friend - the dr I made the appointment with - and that she is happy to see me informally and chat over coffee and refer me professionally to one of her colleagues. That way I will have the benefit of two experts. One professionally and one informally.

I'm livid. I'm cross with the dr for not respecting patient confidentiality. And with my friend for getting involved. But I know she did so because she genuinely cares about me and is worried about me. And maybe having two people to discuss things with us better ?

Any advice? Am I blowing this out of proportion?

OP’s posts: |
Melitza Sat 08-May-21 06:33:50

Is your friend also your family gp?

TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 06:36:05

No. And she is not in the same practice as the dr I made the appointment with. They are just friends not colleagues so no reason why they should have discussed my case professionally.

OP’s posts: |
MinesAPintOfTea Sat 08-May-21 06:38:26

I would complain about the breach in confidentiality. When a second opinion has been needed my gp normally asks for permission to discuss with person X.

Is how to complain to your practise clear?

tillthecowscomehome Sat 08-May-21 06:40:15

Wow this is unbelievably unprofessional and against the GPS code of conduct.

I would be livid.
It puts you in an awful position too. I think if it were me I'd write to the gp and explain my feelings telling her in no uncertain terms that she has overstepped the boundary.

Orchidflower1 Sat 08-May-21 06:41:19

@TheIbnEzra but she has approached this as
“ I’m your GP” because she isn’t. She’s asked a friend about another friend. Yabu

LizziesTwin Sat 08-May-21 06:42:00

That’s really unprofessional. The Dr you booked an appointment with shouldn’t have said anything to your friend. I think I’d ask your friend who she’d recommend for that issue & cancel the existing appointment. If your friend asks why say you’re not happy with the first doctor’s patient confidentiality. As you hardly see her socially there won’t be much fallout.


justawoman Sat 08-May-21 06:42:15

Deeply unprofessional. I’d complain about both of them.

Orchidflower1 Sat 08-May-21 06:42:24


I would complain about the breach in confidentiality. When a second opinion has been needed my gp normally asks for permission to discuss with person X.

Is how to complain to your practise clear?

Neither doctors are in @TheIbnEzra surgery. Her friend asked a colleague.

cakefanatic Sat 08-May-21 06:43:54

I think that’s really inappropriate. I don’t think she can even mention that she’s seeing you.

I have many medic friends (live in a medic part of town) and I don’t expect them to discuss if I come across them professionally. There was one time I can think of where a friend pulled some strings behind the scenes to help with something to do with birth. That birth went terribly and the doctor approached by my friend sent her a message to call me, but didn’t disclose any information. I knew that friend was linked in because they phoned their colleague after I phoned them to ask a question regarding my care.

Other than that I don’t think any of my medic friends have discussed me in a professional context. And I don’t expect them to.

Bottom line is that you could possibly get them in a lot of trouble. I would just reiterate that their conversation was inappropriate and you don’t expect it to happen again.

Gizlotsmum Sat 08-May-21 06:45:52

Firstly is there no other way your friend could have known you saw this GP? If not I would complain, even if no details have been shared it shouldn’t have come up in conversation that the other GP had seen you in a professional capacity. It might be tricky to prove as the GP may have only mentioned seeing you (not even mentioning for an appointment) and your friend has offered help...but worth raising

MyOtherProfile Sat 08-May-21 06:48:03

No. She isn't in a position to "ask a friend about another friend" when she is seeing this friend professionally as a Dr. She has to keep confidentiality.

olympicsrock Sat 08-May-21 06:50:04

Wow this is very wrong. I’m a doctor and would not do this. I think you should write a complaint to their practice manager and not see this GP is you can avoid.

TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 06:53:02

Thanks for all your replies. Good to know I'm not BU to be concerned.
I don't want to get either of them into trouble. I think it was a casual conversation. It's just left me a bit nervous about patient confidentiality in the future. A friend who is a well meaning busy body I can manage. But if the dr is talking to her who else is she talking to?
FWIW my DH thinks it is an innocent mistake and I'm overreacting. But he is by nature very "don't rock the boat".

OP’s posts: |
Melitza Sat 08-May-21 06:53:41

The Dr you had the appointment with is at fault and should not be discussing you with anyone who is not professionally involved in your care. This is the person you should be annoyed with and complain about.
Your df is very naive for a Dr.
I used to work for the NHS and never breathed a word about anything to anyone.

2bazookas Sat 08-May-21 06:53:48

I'd make a formal complaint about your DR who nhas breached your confidentiallity and privacy . It's entirely inappropriate of him/her to discuss you with your social friend... and the fact your friend is a DR is no excuse whatever.

Lollypop701 Sat 08-May-21 06:55:22

Have you seen this other GP yet? I read it you’ve made an appointment, but she wants to refer you to someone else? Maybe so mutual friend won’t be able to ask questions

cheeseislife8 Sat 08-May-21 06:55:58

YANBU, the doctor has acted very unprofessionally. I would be livid.
Regardless of whether the friend is a doctor too, they've basically discussed a patient - with names, clearly - with that patient's friend. That's not ok

TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 06:57:39

@Lollypop701 No. Not seen the dr yet. Appointment is on Monday.

OP’s posts: |
Losttheequipment Sat 08-May-21 06:58:32

I recently made an appointment to speak to another doctor, in a completely different field.

What country are you in? This doesn’t sound like a UK situation, unless you have self/referred privately. Does Dr B (the one you have made an appointment with) know that you are friends with Dr A (friend)? Do you know which one of them instigated this conversation?

This would be very odd in the UK. The vast majority of UK doctors would run a mile, very fast, from getting involved in a friend’s medical care. If you are in a different culture and healthcare system it will be harder for people here to comment helpfully.

TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 07:01:27

@Losttheequipment I'm in the UK. I'm trying to avoid too many outing details but if it helps we are all members of the same faith community which is how we know each other.

OP’s posts: |
Losttheequipment Sat 08-May-21 07:08:29

Friend doctor cannot “refer you professionally to one of her colleagues” unless she is your GP, that is not how funding works in the UK.

TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 07:08:35

@Losttheequipment I can't know for sure but I'd guess my friend initiated the conversation. I told her I'd made the appointment. Maybe that was a mistake and the fault is mine? It's confusing.

OP’s posts: |
TheIbnEzra Sat 08-May-21 07:10:43

@Losttheequipment I was unclear in my OP. Sorry. The dr I made the appointment with suggested to my friend that she (appointment dr) refer my case to a colleague. It's not my friend who offered to refer the case. Sorry for confusion. I've been up early (mulling this over)

OP’s posts: |
Losttheequipment Sat 08-May-21 07:12:02

It is all very odd tbh. Does friend doctor not trust the specialist doctor?

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