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Thread: How many problems can you see your Dr with?

  1. #1
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    How many problems can you see your Dr with?

    In my GP surgery there are neon signs that tell us we are only allowed to see the Dr for one problem in our appointments.

    They used to have a two problem/issue until I think last year.

    I have a lot of ongoing issues and problems and health matters that it's pretty impossible to only talk of one.

    A big issue I feel there may be with something like this is, there may be some people who will only mention one symptom of something, thinking other symptoms are unrelated and so will not tell the Dr of other issues which could mean they do not have crucial information and may escape a correct diagnosis because of this.

    Does anyone elses surgery operate in this one problem way?

  2. #2
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
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    yes, mine does that too, and I agree with what you say
    you need to book a double appt if you have multiple issues

  3. #3
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    It's a difficult balancing act. Our surgery used to operate on 15 minute appointments, which was unsustainably generous. We're now on 10 minute appointments, which is still more generous than some. It's very difficult to get a double appointment unless you book a long time in advance, so in practice they are unavailable.

    At the moment, there's no sign of a "one problem only in a single appointment" policy. Instead, patients are asked to discuss their most pressing concern first and to understand that there comes a point where the doctor will ask them to make another appointment. That seems a more balanced policy, though it is open to abuse. However, as my GP has said, those who mention relatively trivial issues first and leave the big one until their hand is on the door handle almost always do so because of fear or embarrassment, rather than maliciously.


    For someone with a long list of chronic complaints, I see my GP relatively infrequently - I can go a year or more between appointments. When I see a GP, it's either because I'm acutely unwell, in which case I'm wanting to be seen in relation to a single issue anyway, or it tends to be a whole string of bits and pieces. In this latter case, I go well prepared and sometimes get told off for attempting to move faster than the doctor can type into my notes! I'm also prepared to mention a more complex issue in outline and e-mail some more detailed notes later on so that it can then be acted on.

    Unfortunately some doctors find the only way they can deal with the workload is 7 or 8 minute appointments. Those appointments are so short that it's almost impossible to deal with more than one issue, especially as some patients will need longer for just a single issue. Any practice in this situation might be more justified in imposing a "one appointment, one issue" policy.


    When I have apologised to my GP for taking a long time, he's replied that I only come when it's important and, if anything, am too reluctant to ask for help when I should. He feels the unproductive use of his time are those with self-limiting conditions that they can self-treat. There's nothing that he - or any other doctor - can do for a viral bug in the normally fit and well who are still within their limit for self-certifying absence from work and have no chronic conditions that increase the risk of that viral bug. By attending the surgery all they are doing, other than taking time, is spreading their germs. However, the only answer to the "worried well" is education - you cannot discourage them from attending as they might then feel unable to attend over something important.


    If there are any good answers, I'm sure the medical profession is listening!

  4. #4
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
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    I got a letter a couple of months ago to say that due to a new government initiative, I have been identified as someone who is at risk of "unplanned hospitilisation", and will be given a named care co-ordinator, and be called every three months to discuss my condition
    In theory this sounds really good, and I imagine that these three monthly appts. might automatically be doubles, and if not, I will certainly be able to discuss more than one issue.
    However, in practise, I cannot say how well this works, as so far I have not been given a named care co-ordinator or offerred any such appt.
    I did phone the surgery about a month after receiving the letter, and asked how it works, and they said I need to wait to be called

  5. #5
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    The problem is in our GP is they never have any double appointments.

    We live in a smallish town, however one of our Dr's (one of the founding ones) has over 10,000 patients now and he has admitted he cannot cope with it and he looks ill.

    The practice has signs up saying they have spaces for new patients to register there, yet you can never get an appointment.

    I try not to go all the time and always feel like I'm wasting their time/taking too much time.
    We have time limits in the appointments too, although one of the original and good doctors will keep people in as long as needed for the appointments and I was once in there for about forty minutes. I don't know if this has changed now since he is run off his feet with too many patients and just doesn't have any time.

    I just don't feel one problem is a good thing to project to patients as they may not tell the doctor of important symptoms to try to keep within the one problem aspect.

  6. #6
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
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    I recently had a private appt. with a lupus specialist at London Bridge
    I bboked this because my consultant at the lupus unit had discharged me twice, the first time saying he is happy for me to be re-refferred when ever needed and indeed when I was, he saw me again quite quickly,but the second time , after I developed new symptoms and was re refferred he wrote saying he didnt need to see me and would get his nurse to phone me to discuss my symptoms
    After 3 months of chasing the nurse and still not receiving a call and getting worse and ending up in A&E twice I paid money I really can,t afford to see someone.
    When I saw the specialist, I explained that when the lupus unit discharge me I feel left high and dry and that the way the appointment system works at the GP,ie
    Ring at *am if you want an appt, and only discuss one symptom per appt
    this doesn,t work for anyone with a chronic illness and as birdwatcher says you may miss out something important, the Dr really needs to get the "whole picture " with any complex issues.
    well when I explained the "one ailment per appt" policy to the specialist, he shool his head, rolled his eyes and said it is ridiculous
    I was lucky in that the appt got me my objective, which was that he has now agreed to take over my care at the lupus unit (as he works at both) and he ha assured me that he wont keep discharging me
    I could not afford this appt, and had to put it on a high interest credit card, but I came out of the appt feeling it was money well spent
    I know that a lot of people though, would not have even been able to do that

  7. #7
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
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    birdwatcher, if you can,t get a double appt. just make an ordinary one, write yourself a list,
    when yuo arrive explain that you know their time is limited but that you are unwell with more than one symtom and you dont know what is related and what is not
    Ask if you mat run through your list
    Have things listed in the order that you think is most important
    Take two copies, and if the dr cuts you short before you get to the end of the list, leave it with them

  8. #8
    Senior Member deebee's Avatar
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    sorry, I see my typing is appaling today
    I have had cellulitis for the last 8 weeks and it is making me very woozy!

  9. #9
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    Sorry about your cellulitis deebee. I hope you are getting a bit better now, fingers crossed for you.

    I've already got my list sorted, although that's a good idea to do two and leave one with them. I think I may copy out my list.

    I just wondered how many surgeries operated this way as I don't find it helpful and I have been putting off going as I never have just one problem and so instead of going for one I just won't go. It feels as though you are a huge burden to them if you have chronic conditions. Well that's how I feel about it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kodiak's Avatar
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    About a year ago our Practice dissolved and it was taken over by the NHS. All New Doctors in the Practice now and they are all Locums so you never see the same Doctor twice. That is if you can get an appointment.

    Last time I was able to see a Doctor was last November. I have tried several times since to get an appointment but I am always advised that they are fully booked up for the next three weeks. Also that they will not make appointments more that three weeks ahead so in other words no appointments available.

    I am now thinking that the only way I will be able to see a Doctor is to go to the A&E Department at the Hospital. SAD state of affairs it is.
    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
    Edgar Allen Poe

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