This is the sound of a frayed nerve snapping.

So, back on the 20th of May, I sent this in an email to my MP to complain about my medical practise fucking me around in circles and generally making my condition worse;

 

Most recently; On Sunday morning, I was forced to call the out-of-hours doctor (Dr S–) to my house, as I had a dislocated hip (One of the messier symptoms of joint hypermobility syndrome). He told me to get an appointment with Dr Z– as soon as possible on Monday; Specifically Dr Z–, since he is the GP at the surgery who is most familiar with me and my condition, and continuity of care is really important in the case of chronic illness. Dr S– also told that if my condition deteriorated of I couldn’t see the doctor, I should go straight to A+E. 

I decided that I’d rather try to stick it out and phone the GP in the morning, so spent the evening in the care of a friend, being kept comfortable as bes as could be done. Knowiing that my GP’s practise is often impossible to get an appointment with, I phoned them at exactly 8am – The phone was engaged. I continued to redail them repeatedly (Checking my phone log, literally twenty times) until finally connecting to the surgery at 8.04, at which point I was told that all appointments had been claimed, and that I should try phoning back on Wednesday to get an appointment with Dr Z– on Thursday (Wherein I’d have the same “chance” of getting an appointment as I had that morning). I begged the receptionist, R–, to release an appointment early, since I had a disolcated hip and instructions from Dr S–, and would otherwise need emergency treatment, and he was unmoved. 

As such, I had to spend most of yesterday in A+E, just because it’s impossible to book appointments with my GP. 

And that’s only the most recent issue with them; Since 2012, it’s been more likely that I’ll be told to “Phone back tomorrow” than to be given an appointment. Due to my condition, which comes with disturbed sleep and difficulty waking in the mornings, I usually can’t guarantee being awake at 8.00 to make the phone call. I’ve explained this to the reception staff, and have been told to just “Set an alarm clock” (Which sort of suggests that she doesn’t understand what disordered sleep is actually like). I’m self-employed, and if I force myself to be awake at 8am, I usually miss the day’s work due to the sheer fatigue and usually pain that this ends up causing. And, of course, since only a few appointments are released, I sometimes have to phone three or four days in a row, meaning missing a week of work and leaving me with not enough money to live on. This system also ruins any chance of continuity of care, as you simply have to take an appointment with whichever GP is available; And in a ten-minute appointment, if I have to explain the overview of my entire condition (Which is unusual enough that many doctors just won’t have encountered it before) there’s little time left to explain whatever the current problem is. 

A few more examples, to illustrate that it’s not only this week which has been a problem; In February I was unable to get an appointment to review my medication after having ran out early. As a result I was left in extreme pain, and had to phone 111, wherein my condition was considered to be so serious by the phone responder that a team of paramedics were sent to my house. Likewise, in January I needed an appointment at relatively short notice, to treat constipation brought on as a side-effect to necessary medication. I was unable to get a routine appointment for over a week, resulting in needing to use the “Emergency walk-in clinic” at Robin Lane; If I had been seen sooner, there wouldn’t have been an emergency. This feels like a waste of NHS money, and frankly like unnecessary cruelty.
 
The receptionists claim that instead of going to regular appointments, I should just use the walk-in clinic which R– L— runs in the mornings; In this, you arrive before 12 and then have to sit for usually around an hour or two before being seen for 10 minutes by a randomly assigned doctor. Firstly, it’s inappropriate for a long-term condition, as what the chronically ill generally need is regular, non-urgent appointments, and the surgery’s own guidelines say that the walk-in service isn’t for things like medication reviews or assessment of ongoing conditions. In addition to this, sitting for an hour or two in a non-adapted chair (At home, due to the pain in my back, hips and shoulders, I never sit upright, always either sitting cross-legged on the floor, or reclining) causes more pain and damage, and can result in needing several days to recover. I have tried sitting on the floor or lying down when the walk-in surgery is less busy, but have always been told off my the receptionists as lying down “Didn’t look very nice, for the other people”, and thus was forced to sit upright and cause myself further pain. 

As you can see, it’s bad enough for me, and probably even worse for either people with conditions which require carer-assistance to get to appointments, or for people who are employed by companies instead of being self-employed, as they’ll need to try to book time off for appointments. 

I’m very curious as to whether their organisation has performed an impact assessment, as outlined by the Disability Discrimination Act (2005), and if so what the results of that were.

I genuinely don’t know what to do – The majority of GPs at the practice are extremely good, and the surgery is extremely close to my house, and thus I’m unwilling to go to another practise, but the receptionists and appointment-booking scheme are making it impossible to get an adequate quality of care.

 

And he forwarded it to my GP’s practise, with the intent of Getting Something Done about the whole situation.

 

So, today, I’ve just got this in response;

 

ImageImage

 

Which I can’t help but thinking reads like nothing more than an excessively verbose “Fuck you”.

 

I am angry. I am in pain, I am sad, I am utterly hopeless, and administrators are really deliberately missing the point.

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