Your Stories
Your Stories - Do You Have Faith In Your GP?
March 06, 2008

I'm a typical bloke - I don't trust doctors.

But I tried to change - particularly since our daughter was born, because our household has never been more full of lurgy, and we never made so many visits to my local surgery as in the last year.

Sadly, my views haven't changed.

GPs say they have 'relationships' with their patients - well I have never seen the same GP twice.

I just get a feeling they are so driven by targets, getting people seen and keeping spend down that there is very little in the way of care.

Over to you.  Restore my faith in GPs.

Written by Sky News, March 06, 2008


I have to be totally honest and say i trust my doctor when shes there, but to be honest she never is. In the last 6 mnths i have seen her twice out of about 10/15 times i have beeneither with myslef or my daughter. I keep ending up with these cover doctors who havent got a clue what they are doing. I had one who told me my bad heart burn was anm asthma attack, im sorry but i know an asthma attack as i have asthma, and i defo wasnt having one.maybe it would be nice to have a cover doctor who knows what they are doing for a change.

Both my son and I have had unecessary operations when I didn't know any better. It is important to listen to GPs but to also do your own research and trust your gut. If you don't feel happy about an opinion you need to seek a second opinion. After all it is your body. Don't be ignorant. Doctors don't know everything. There are doctors out there who admit this and will listen to partents regarding their kids. I suggest you find one of these dostors that you are happy with.

I have 100% trust in my doctors. Totally. And i've told them to their face how much I trust them.

I'm housebound and have been for many years. I'm only in my 30s. If I call my doctors surgery in the morning, they are here within half an hour. And every time they've checked me over and gave a diagnosis, i've never doubted them once.

Two doctors in particular in this panel of about 8, know me inside out. They know how I think, and can calm me down within seconds, without the use of medication. If I have ear infections or something minor (I'm prone to ear and chest infections) I can call them and get antibiotics over the telephone. They don't need to come out because they know these infections are recurring and I don't want to waste their valuable time. Plus the fact they know I suffer pill phobia so wouldn't take anything unless I have to.

One of these doctors saved my son's life in 2006 after the doctors at the hospital diagnosed him with having 'migraines'. I spoke to my GP and she realised this was more than just migraines, going by my anxiety. She organised a scan (MRI) and they found a 'massive brain tumour'. He was actually given three days to live had I not been so insistent. Because my GP actually listened to me, she knew there was something seriously wrong...and my son's life was saved because of it.

I trust all my GPs totally. I wish all doctors were like them. I'm sorry to read some of the stories here and hope everyone gets the treatment they desperately need xx

My GP's are excellent its the receptionists that are the problem. Once I do eventually manage to get passed them the doctors are very good, they listen, explain and offer choices. I have moved several times since becoming a mother and all the practices I have joined in different places have all been excellent. I think there is a nasty tide against GP's in the media. Remember they have studied (at their own expence) for 5 years at university and then at least 5-7 years on the job training before thay can work as GP's, they then have to fund the GP exams, again at their own expence. It not as if they leave university and suddenly become a GP. Its the same as dentists they owe the NHS nothing they have to pay for their own training at university and are not subsidised like nurses or allied health professionals, but the media and government make out that they are wrong and the majority of the public do not seem to realise that doctors and dentist have to fund themselves running into several tens of thousands of pounds.

I left the UK to live the dream here in Italy. I was, and still am, a single parent and in full time work in England and every time I went to the doctor with various complaints I was always told I was suffering from stress...of course I was. But it didn't mean I didn't have any physical illnesses. Doctors made me feel like I was wasting their time and that I was a hypochondriac, but if they knew me, they would have known that I only go to the docs when I feel really ill. Anyway, when I arrived in Italy and suddenly started losing weight dramatically, and the blood I had been losing from my rear end continued, and I was living without stress, my friend encouraged me to go the the local hospital for tests. Here, one is seen as a human being who is ill and deserves to be treated. Of course, one has to pay a small fee but there are not the waiting lists and times of the UK. When I was tested it showed that, after suffering for 7 years previously, I had gluten intolerance, ovarian cysts and kidney stones!!! So, payment was worth it. My local doctor knows me, and I have had many treatments here, which occured within a week of the symptoms! But there are not hundreds of secretaries and managers, no fancy curtains or pictures on the walls of the hospital, just basic plastic chairs, and doctors. A friend of mine in the UK was a personnel manager. She started with the NHS as a lowly secretary, but with a plan in mind. The NHS gave her time off and paid for her studies to get her degree, then she was promoted, and now spends her time listening to nurses making complaints about each other to sue for compensation, or have time off for stress. The hearings take a long time, and often no one is reprimanded. And I had a friend from Iraq who could only just speak English who was going to be a nurse in the UK because my friends job was also to recruit from other countries. Meanwhile her son, her daughter and my son were unemployed, with no prospects! It seems to me, everything is cocked up. Italy as a country is very racist and insular, not a good thing for me, but they look after their own first. Maybe Britain needs to start doing the same.

While I appreciate that sometimes we don't always get what we think we deserve when we visit the doctors, it seems like many of the people commenting have started out with a biased view of GP's that nothing short of a miracle would dissuade them from.

What we seem to be failing to take into account is that we are expecting a GP to have a superhuman knowledge of every medical condition on the planet, and to apply that knowledge to what can often be fairly poorly described symptoms. In addition to this you must appreciate that statistically many of the patients that regularly clutter the waiting rooms of our local doctors surgeries can be effectively treated by over the counter remedies and common sense. If we as a culture all became better educated about the simple things we could do to improve or maintain our own good health, we could free up the time of our GPs to offer a more comprehensive service to those people who are genuinely ill and need the help and support of a qualified professional.

Unfortunately if you suggest to many people that a practice nurse, (or even, heaven forbid, a pharmacist!) could help them resolve their medical complaint they start shouting from the rooftops that they aren't receiving the proper service from the NHS and that their GP should be making more time to see them.

It seems to me that there is a problem deeply inherent in the way the system is being used, and until we re-educate the NHS/GP service "users" it won't get significantly better.

I have several conditions the main one being Dilated cardiomyopathy, during this stay in hospital i was told i have hepatits c, two years later i was told i have Ankylosing spondylitis, last year i was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and have had a pretty rough time of things, when i would go to my GP he would say there is nothing he can do as the hospital have all my blood results scans x-rays mri scans so he can't help me i need to see my hospital specialist, i asked my local council to do a dropped kerb and a concrete stand for my motability vehicle, they wrote to my GP, and he became a specialist all of a sudden, he told them that i can walk basicaly i had nothing wrong with me, it makes you wonder just who GPs work for because i have been turned down for work that would make my life so much easier.

I hate going to the doctors and having to take my kids to the doctors. Usually you get an attitude on the phone about how theres no appointments, then there is but only if its an emergency... ten mins if you are lucky...don't be running late for any reason or get a telling off (as if you were a naughty child) but if they keep you waiting half an hour + you will be lucky to get a grunt of an apology. I even once got prescribed penicillan (which I am allergic to) by a doctor that I had been seeing for almost 20 years....and it clearly stated on the front of my file in massive letters that I had an allergy to it! Some doctors are friendly, some are not, some care and some do not I suppose. A relative of mine seen the doc for 3 weeks in a row - told it was an infection - eventually decided to take himself to A & E only to get diagnosed with testicular cancer! He had an operation but it has spread and now he has to undergo lots of chemo. One of my friends has an autistic child and she was asked to leave the waiting area and take him outside because he was upset! If they were caring they would have given her a quiet room to sit with him in! Unreal! They might have stressful jobs but so do a lot of people - they are supposed to be a caring profession after all!

I try my best to avoid a trip to the doctors. at our local surgery we can only book an appointment in advance last time i tried 2 weeks, but to be seen quicker when really desperate or you haven't managed to predict your illness inadvance, you can line up outside from 8.30am till they open in all weathers with out a shelter, the que is generally long and then once inside they give you a slot which could be mid morning or later! terrible treatment.then when you attend the appointment the practise is running late! then in your five minute appointment the doctor looks at you as if your wasting his time and scribbles down a prescription and thats that. i remember our doctor when i was little, he was friendly, listerned, showed empathy and took you seriously. surley if modern day doctors and their generally unfriendly receptionist were more professional, people would feel more reassured in their treatment and serious illnesses would be found earlier and give people a better chance at recovery! its time things were changed!!!!

i think because of money the modern day GP doesn't have time to actually talk to his patient and find a solution to the problem all they ever have time for is to perscribe you drugs and send you on your way. 20 mins is not enough time to talk to your GP properly about your problem and then find a solution your both happy with.

My mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February last year. 9 Months before that she told the docs she had cancer but they just told her no. Untill my dad went down and told them she should have a body scan then they did something and found out my mum was right. The doctors can't do enought to help her now but she can not complaine about them because she will get moved to another surgery and there is no more in the area
Mum is one of the lucky ones (5%)that have survived over a year. faith in doctors, Nurses etc -she has none i do not blame her either! reading all the blogs my opinion is not unusual!

Such a pity that Doctors seem to get such bad press when the majority are dedicated to looking after our health. I have been unfortunate enough to had a period of extremely bad health, 14 operations in the past 25 years, my GP's surgery have always been helpful, my GP at Southlea Surgery Aldershot has always looked to find the best consultants to sort out the serious problems that I have encountered. House calls or advice over the phone have always been available, and although I usually see the same doctor, alternate partners within the practice are always up to date with my condition and extremely helpful. So I trust my doctor implicitly and know that I get the best treatment

There are schemes currently being adopted by some local GP practices to adopt another style of treating YOU, the general public. Basically, the scheme comprises of relocating your GP with all the practice GP's from your area and housing the practice into one building. There will be the usual staff but just one set of staff to cope with all of the GP's running their practice from the building chosen.
If you have not experienced this move yet, ask your GP, for this practise will eventually be set up.
We all moan and groan about the inappropriate services given by GP's at times but, those who still see their own GP or the GP they have registered with are lucky, for this won't be the practise in the near future! The funding is coming from another Country.
You have seen the changes that all medical files go to Quarry House in Leeds, all your file is put on a rewritable CD and hospital computer - your GP signs in when they are on duty with a specialist key card and everything they need to know about you is on the computer file.
Personally, my GP is currently a 100 yards away from my home as the crow flies, my GP has been of a tremendous help and support to me, i have a rare disease-Sjogren's Syndrome, which is hard to diagnose - i only visit my hospital twice a year if that - if your GP or his student doesn't give you the right treatment, it's not always their fault, it's what is written on your file, the reason why the GP/Student looks in the manual, or on the internet, drugs are continuously being renamed and changed - i first met my doctor 20 years ago when i moved here, he was not a young man then, yet, he has had to become computer literate, on top of running a practise with over 3,000 different cultures in, so please, treasure your GP as if they were your family...we are lucky to have them!

It is a pity that most of the comments on these stories are negative. I do not doubt that there are problem surgeries, but I can truly say that the one I attend, and also my parents – both 75+, is excellent. The doctors are patient, understanding and are willing to listen to your problems or issues. I have never had a medical problem that has been misdiagnosed o incorrectly dealt with. Both of my parents have had many major illnesses in the last few years from Joint replacement and MRSA to Heart and chest problems and all these occasions the team in the surgery [reception to nurses to OT to doctors] have been fantastic. I believe part of the problem today with people is, that any minor sniffle or cough etc. it’s the doctor time. If people would stop wasting surgery time due to extremely minor complaints to not turning up to appointments then the team would have more time to deal with real problems or issues, run “well people clinics” etc.
There will always be mistakes or errors, they may be well trained but can occasional drop off, but its not deliberate or malicious and is rare. Stop wasting their time and support them, they do a good job and most of them are very proud of what they do and achieve.

My comment is not as much to do with GPs but our new state of the art (Super hospital)that opened last July.
My daughter has just given birth to a lovely little girl but could have lost her because they have no way of detecting where the umblimnical cord is.
The staff had only one themometer for the whole deliver suite that worked properly.Being a first baby after much deliberation she elected to have a cesarian section.
when the baby arrived the cord was wrapped around her neck twice,the surgeon said that it was good call as she would have lost her baby giving a viginal delivery.
That was only the begining to what I could only decribe as third world treatment.
Left alone to her own devises no one came near her to check on her well being or the babies,the staff said they were too busy.I had to telephone from my house to the Hospital at approx at 23-00hrs after reciving a text from my daughter telling us that she was in agony and was too frightend to ask for help.
Having spoken to the nurse on duty we found out her dressing had not been changed and the baby had not been bathed all day,she was disgusted to say the least and when she went for a shower it was filthy and milldew was hanging off the shower curtain,when this was pointed out to the staff on duty she was told not to worry it was reported last week.

Bad expierience every time myself and my family have to visit the G.P. I had to make a formal comlplaint about one of the G.P's at the surgery due him prescribing completely wrong medicines to my(at the time) 6 month old daughter. It makes you feel extremely vulnerable and i do not have faith anymore which is a shame because i'm sure there are good G.P's out there i just wish i could find one!!!!

My GP practice in Bradford is generally very good, although we felt a little let down just after Christmas by the on-call service.

My dad had been very very sick and was misdiagnosed for nearly a week, and not one of the GPs who came to see him would consider that it could be anything other than the vomiting bug and therefore would not admit him, even though he was severely dehydrated and had been for some days.

Once he got into the BRI (who were FABULOUS!!) they diagnosed him within a few hours and had him on the mend. If it hadn't been for his eventual collapse and a right-thinking young GP who eventually turned up I dread to think what would've happened!

It was a different infection in the end but it could have literally been fatal had he gone undiagnosed for much longer.

Generally though in my experience my own GP practice is good and the hospitals in my region do their best under difficult circumstances.

At my surgery, you have wait on average 2-3 weeks to get an appointment with a GP you want to see (for continuity) - so you have to guess when you are going to be ill. Otherwise it's the "emergency surgery. You can wait up to an hour and a half, then you are first assessed by a nurse to see if you warrant the doctors time and attention, if you are you then wait again. Every-time I go I am made to feel I am wasting their time and I am making a fuss over a trifle. I have to be absolutely desperate to go to the surgery now. But isn't that what they want?

I hate going to the doctors and will do so only in an emergency. About a 3 weeks ago I wanted to book an appointment to have my breasts checked as I was a bit concerned, I was told by the receptionist that my usual MAN doctor would not be able to see me unless there was another member of staff in the room with him (usually a receptionist) So what should be a private examination I would now have some stranger stand in the room I was told for security reasons, I said I felt uncomfortable having a stranger stand in so I had to see the local nurse but would not be able to have an appointment for atleast 2 weeks because she is fully booked. This is ridiculous I just wanted my breasts checked what is this world coming to.
I hate going to the doctors at the best of times and situations like this just make it worse.

I am very lucky to have an excellent GP. She takes the time to find out what the problem is and will order tests to confirm. I have never been fobbed off with paracetamol and exercise. I moved 30 miles away but i stay with the same GP.

As a GP, I'm really saddened by the comments above.

I work in a practice which currently still runs personal lists, and we are therefore able to offer continuity of care to not just individual patients but often their whole families- something which they tell us they value. This may of course become a thing of the past in a few years if "Polyclinics" take over...

In reply to the previous comments, without more information it is difficult to address all the issues raised but I would say that- 1. I would encourage Anya and her family to discuss their issues with the care of their relative with their GP again-no GP should refuse to help an unstable patient- there may be other services who could be accessed e.g. community mental health nurses etc. 2.With regards to Dana's comments on being asked about antibiotics- it is part of general medical training these days that the patient should be involved in the decision-making. This moves away from the "doctor knows best" attitude but can result in the kind of scenario she discussed. Obviously we are being urged to minimise the use of antibioitics to avoid resistance and the emergence of MRSA-type bugs. In a situation where a particular medication is essential such choice would not be offered in this way- e.g. acute treatment for a heart attack. Perhaps choice is not what everyone wants? 3.Nurse practitioners are increasingly being used in practices to see minor ailments, but they are not doctors and ultimately some conditions will need to be seen by a doctor too. 4. If the doctor feels you need to see a specialist, it makes no difference to them whether this is done privately or not- the main difference is probably to you- either cost/insurance and probably a shorter waiting-time for your appointment. The decision to make a referral should not be based on whether someone has insurance or not. 5.We have a large team of receptionists, many of whom have worked in the practice for decades and are therefore very experienced and competent. They deal with queries from patients all day and provide an essential link between us and our patients.6. The use of computerised records means that we have instant access to most patients records- far more advanced than most current hospital records, but the downside is that the doctor does need to look at the screen to read the information whilst you are in the consultation, thereby somewhat ruining part of the non-verbal communication. Each consultation is timed for 10minutes- which is not very long for most issues- this time includes typing what has been said and done.This is no excuse for bad communication but it may explain why it happens sometimes..7. A lot of minor ailments can be diagnosed by pharmacists and treated with over the counter medication. This would therefore leave more slots for patients who do need to see a doctor and reduce the access problem in some surgeries that Tracey described. Dermatology is not an exact science and sometimes with rashes it is a bit of "trial and error" with the creams etc.

The majority of UK GPs I have come across are highly-skilled, motivated,caring, hard-working individuals who try to do the best for their patients.

As with all services, there will always be people who are unhappy with their experience and those who expect more than can be provided but I do hope that all of you have a better experience of GPs in the future.

Take care.

I have spent the last 18months battling with bowel cancer and my GP's Dr Ullah and Dr Lindsay have been FANTASTIC as has most of the surgery team. I have obviously been very lucky and I won't be moving house in the near future (unless it's within the surgery catchment area!}

Our GPs have just introduced a new phone number that costs 4.5p + VAT per minute. The last call cost me 80p and I didn't even get through! I suppose on £100K pa & working 4.5 days a week, they must be short of money so I mustn't moan.

We always have difficulty getting appointments at our
local medical practise, and
most times when you go down
the place is empty, maybe only
one doctor running the place
where the rest are is a mystery.
For the salaries they earn they
should work longer hours plus
weekends as well.

I have no faith in GPs whatsoever. They are arrogant and incompetent. They treat you like a pile of manure, and "cure" everything with ibuprofen. Some don't have a clue what certain conditions are, hence they ask YOU (layperson) to explain it to them (excuse me!?).
The solution for myself is to travel abroad in order to obtain decent medical care, which is something I've done for quite some time now.

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