Monday, July 2, 2012

The Doctor

After much waiting, an appointment arrives and I present myself to the Healthcare Centre (ho ho ho...). The first words out of the Doctors mouth were to remind me that I was only permitted to raise one medical problem per appointment.
This poses a dilemma. Not being a medical chap, how am I - any of us - meant to judge which out of several problems was the most serious? Is that not the point of medical training...? In an attempt to avoid an arsey retort, I offered her the choice - chest pains, or my extremely painful left arm and shoulder.
She went for the chest pain, wired me for an ECG, checked cholesterol, is testing for diabetes, and so on. All very thorough and hardly standard practice for a prison Doctor. My arm even got a look-in, only to be met with the standard prison Lazarus mixture, paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Only depression and my crumbling back left to go. Shouldn't take more than a few weeks for that appointment...
Oh, I knew there was a point to this. We are meant to receive broadly equivalent healthcare from the NHS as we would outside. Does anybody's GP insist that they only mention one problem per appointment?


  1. Yes, they do, and even worse. Don't imagine things about general healthcare . . . sorry for the pain, though, and the experience of not being listened to. It's what most people experience going to the doctors, anyway. Including the waiting times for an appointment. So welcome to the world - won't get any better! :-)

  2. nope I went last week and discussed two issues.

  3. My doctor insists on only one and this is on their website and walls, etc. Generally you can get away with mentioning a few but if your single problem has taken a little while they've asked me to book multiple appointments before. I wouldn't be surprised to receive similar treatment to you I'm afraid.

  4. Try, "I don't know if it's connected, but...."

  5. It's one visit - one complaint at my GP. Looks like situation normal.

  6. People not in jail have many options if not satisfied with treatment. Prisoners have none.

  7. GPs in the community have ten minutes per patient and so yes, they do try to encourage people to stick to one problem per appointment. Because otherwise they run late and everyone hates that. Sadly people ignore it and think they are entitled to use up an hour of their doctor's time telling their entire life story. Actually, most doctors would love to have time to spend an hour on each patient but it simply isn't possible.

    Oh, and I am a doctor, and I work in A&E at present, and most of our patients with soft tissue injuries get paracetamol and ibuprofen.

  8. The difference may be not that I can only raise one query, but that I can book 2 or more appointments to discuss 2 or more problems. And I can get pretty much as many appointments as I need, at short notice if urgent, so long as I'm not wasting the doctor's time.

  9. Not too long ago it was possible to discuss all your problems with a GP, some GP's were good, some were not. I remember when it changed to become this ridiculous and wholely unscientific practise of one appointment for one complaint (as if the aliments are unrelated duh!).

    Anyway the GP I saw for some or other problem, after that I then went on to, and wanted to discuss with him: family planning. It was at that point that he ended our interview with a retort that it was only one complaint per visit, which was something I had never heard of before.

    I wish they would drop that silly rule and all the other silly rules that not only make things difficult for the doctor trying to treat us in a sensible manner but also of course for the patient.

    The pressure that we are under regarding our health is surely pointless and gratuitous from a managerial perspective. There are many people suffering as a consequence of unnecessary bad practice.

    Dealing with someones complaint doesn't necessarily mean having to listen to their life stories, sometime things take a long while, sometimes its short. Trying to falsly regulate like they do is stupid, we are not objects in a factory line.

  10. Same for me, I can only raise one thing at a time but if I make my argument can maybe book two appointments. Feels increasingly like we have to fight for our healthcare.

  11. My GP prefer that you don't bombard them with lots of different ailments at one time and can get a bit annoywed when you "save them all up"

  12. One problem per appointment here, too. But you can discuss two if you make a double appointment. Non-emergent single appointments take about a fortnight and doubles may or may not be longer. Emergent appointments always available the same day (but only after a triage return phone call from a nurse) but you definitely only get one complaint then!

    Ben: I put this to you - it's not that you're overestimating the soul-destroying bureaucracy and obstructive officialdom of prison; it's that you may be underestimating the soul-destroying bureaucracy and obstructive officialdom of life on the outside.

    Sorry: not an optimistic thought.

  13. Certainly the NHS is creaking under the strain at the moment. I'm sure the care prisoners get is worse, but perhaps not by as much as Ben thinks :/

  14. on the contrary the don'tcare service do not like prisoners asking anything about their health. Put up and shut up and woe betide you if someone speaks on your behalf.

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