If you’ve been here a while, you’ll know that my GP was amazing.
She was supportive of my struggles regarding my health since 2015 and would let me cry in her room whenever I needed, she never made me doubt how I was feeling and if she didn’t know an answer, she would go and find it for me. She didn’t make me feel stupid when I showed her a dark patch of skin on my foot and told her all about the skin cancer running in my family, before sending me away with a prescription for a steriod cream for dry skin. She was excited when I told her I was pregnant, after endocrinology had told me I couldn’t ovulate, nevermind get pregnant. She signed me off sick when I was struggling to work around all my appointments and ill health. She listened to me when countless other doctors didn’t.
I’ve always talked so highly of my particular GP and felt sorry for others with trigeminal neuralgia who don’t have supportive doctors.
So why have I moved GP practice?
Let’s talk through a little history about me being registered at my doctors. Between me being born and the age of 21, I lived at the same house with my mum, both of us registered at the same GP practice. I moved out of the area very slightly (just over the border!) when I was 22 and back into the area again when I was 24, around a 3 minute drive from my mum’s house. Even when I was out of the area for just over a year, I was allowed to remain under the GP practice I was registered at, due to the special circumstances regarding my health conditions and continuity of care and the fact that I never needed home visits. When I moved back into the area again, I stayed in that house for 5 years.
When my daughter was born 6 weeks premature last year, I went straight back home to my mum’s house, to stay there with her and my daughter and I couldn’t return to my old address due to it being sold (3 days after I gave birth!). It was all very rushed, but isn’t being back home with your family so comforting after you’ve just had a massive life change?
For the 30 years I have been alive, my mum has never moved house. She has never changed dentist or doctors. She is like me and very much does not like change.
My first thought upon bringing my premature, one week old daughter home from the hospital was actually to get her registered at the my doctors – I see my GP a lot! I rang through to reception and told them I was back living with my mum, so could they move my address back and also please could they add Blake onto their register too.
“Sorry, you’re out of the area..”
I assumed the receptionist had misheard me in some way, or was confused about me saying I was staying at my mum’s for the foreseeable future. I used to be registered at her address for the first 22 years of my life and my mum was still registered under that same address, as she always had been. I was even still in the area up until that moment when they thought I lived at my old house, about 7 roads away from my mum’s house.
I asked the receptionist to explain this to me, but she just kept telling me I was out of the area. She couldn’t tell me why my mum was in the area, but I wasn’t when living under the same room and why I had been in the area for the last 5 years at a house round the corner from my mum’s address.
I have been a GP receptionist before and I always try to defend them when they get a bad rep, but this receptionist was the definition of useless.
I asked to speak to the practice manager. At this point, I didn’t care about myself and just wanted to know that my baby had a doctor, should she need it, which was highly likely considering I had her so prematurely and that we’d just had a week in hospital for her, over two different sites.
I can’t even put this next sentence nicely, because if I can’t lie on my own website. The practice manager who called me back was the most arrogant, unpleasant woman I’ve spoken to in a long time.
I had been registered at the doctors practice since I was born and I had literally just brought home my first baby who was being treated for jaundice for a week following birth. I was feeling pretty rubbish and I just wanted my usual healthcare provider to actually provide healthcare for me and my child. I had no idea why I was having to go around the houses for this.
I was informed that my old house and my mum’s current house were no longer in the area. When I asked why my mum was still registered and why I was still registered, I was told that there had been some changes, but as my mum was a long term patient, this was fine.. But not for me apparently! Moving to my mum’s house had taken me off their books.
I asked what I was supposed to do with my daughter’s GP registration and would they really leave a one week old baby without a doctor. Weirdly enough, they let me register her as a ‘temporary patient’, but I wasn’t allowed to stay with them and was told her temporary patient status would expire in 3 months.
I had built up an amazing relationship with my GP and she doesn’t know how much she has done for me in the six years I was under her direct care, since the first time I met her following my first TN attack.
I am now in a new house that is unquestionably out of the area and registered with a new GP practice and, aside from a nice reception team and a lovely nurse, I would say the care has been poor. The GPs I have spoken to have actively tried to dismiss my problems on multiple occasions in the last six months and my daughter was even refused an appointment with them for tonsillitis, so we ended up at the out of hours walk in with her!
When I’ve told a GP that I’ve been sick around every 2 weeks since the start of the year, I’ve been offered two blood tests and some vitamin D supplements. When I told the doctor that my episiotomy scar is causing me extreme discomfort, she said “that can be normal”, despite a note on my medical records from a nurse saying it looks abnormal – I had to actively push for a referral to gynecology. I had to tell another doctor exactly what medication I needed for my TN and to directly instruct them to refer me to the pain clinic.. twice, because “do you really need that?” The absolute low point was being told “just drink more” when I stopped producing saliva when taking amitriptyline.
I miss my old GP, not just for me, but for Blake too.
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