Two medical-related phone calls yesterday. This is basically me settling in for Winter, when my physical and mental health both go from bad to worse – I take about twice as much pain relief and antispasmodics in winter as I do in summer, my sleep pattern goes to pieces, I eat less often and less well, usually coinciding with my guts slowing down, and I get much more upsetting and graphic suicidal thoughts, not to mention the increase in self-harm for both pain-relief and mental-illness related reasons.

The first was to Rheumatology, to find out what was going on with Stanmore and what was in the letter that had been sent to the GP.

First is the bad news – It looks like I’m having to arrange that Stanmore referral myself, since once again it’s gone around the full cycle of “Nope, nobody knows what it is, or when, or where, or anything.” without making any progress. So I have no idea how to do that, or even if I can do that. By the original reckoning though, it’s three months overdue, which is starting to get ridiculous. I’ve been told to “Just chase them up” with both my GP and Stanmore, which as far as I can tell basically means nothing.

(On this note – Anyone who has any experience in following up referrals, how does one do it? I’ve in-theory got letters from my GP, Rheumy and UCLH Hypermobility all saying that I need to be referred to Stanmore, and all of the above claim to have sent letters to Stanmore to refer me as well, multiple times. So other than just turning up at Stanmore with a suitcase, what do I do next?)

Then is the worse news – The letter that was supposed to say “Plesae give this patient more diazepam” instead says “Thank you for giving them a small amount of diazepam”. These are not the same sentiment, at all.

So I nearly went into my GPs practise and looked like a drug-seeking liar, because I would have said “Dr D said to give me more diazepam” and they would have read the letter and said “No, he didn’t”.

So I’ve booked an appointment with my GP for the 8th, at 16.50, and I had the strangest exchange with the receptionist whilst doing so.

“Who’s it with?” I asked, basically just checking that it wasn’t with Dr Rh, who I personally consider to be not-a-doctor and more like a stale breadcake in a suit.

“It’s with Dr [Name unclear]”


“The Lady Doctor”

Happy at least that this precluded it being with Dr Rh, I hung up. But this baffled me. Of the people in this practice, I’ve got a clear mental picture of about half a dozen of them. Dr Rh is, as I’ve said before, a winnet with legs, Dr Ch is sympathetic and keeps a casual eye on my mental health, Dr R is viscerally horrified by my dislocations but willing to work with me to hack the most efficient possible use of my medication and the system, Dr L is great for mental health but scared of the drugs that I take, Nurse Practitioner Rs is a lovely person and technically very competent, but knows when she’s stumped and isn’t too proud to refer me up the tree when needed. And I don’t think I’ve ever sorted these people by sex. In fact, I can’t think of any situation where I’ve used “Does this person have matching genitals with me?” as a selection criterion.

This is probably all complicated by the fact that I’ve barely ever socialised with people who are the same gender as myself. I don’t seem to consistently feel a gender in the same way as most people do (Though for about three months near the start of this year I felt much more definitely “man!” than usual, which was weird. I usually just use it as a shorthand for “I am a fairly masculine person” or “Most people consider me to be masculine”) so I don’t have that immediate sense of solidarity with people for being the same gender as me that a lot of people seem to get – Especially in fields which are skewed in the direction that makes them a minority (For example, women in physics, men in childcare, etc).

But anyway, that’s all by the by. I’m seeing a doctor on the 8th, it’s about my sleep pattern, and I think it’s a doctor that I’ve not met before, so this could be really complicated.


10 thoughts on “Assortment

    • I may have to do that 😀 I got about 3/4ths of the way through an ombudsman complaint about my last GP last year, then ran out of steam and gave up because life was too short to hold a grudge, and someone else with more energy could fight this fight.

      I’ll have a look at how one makes a complaint – I think I’m not the only person this has happened to either.

  1. What Cathy said!

    If complaining about GP, contact the practice manager and ask about their complaints procedure.

    If complaining about any other NHS team contact whoever in the team and ask for a copy of their complaints form (they will have one and are required to provide to anyone who asks – I used to carry a couple of them in my bag to give to people I wanted to make a complaint about things which should not have been happening they way they were, so if you have a subversive clinician in any of the relevant teams ask them).

    Also ask for a copy of the trust’s complaints policy, as it is a very good idea to have some point of reference to make sure they adhere to their own policies and procedures (IME for complaints made by staff against management none of the trusts round here do adhere to the policies).

    Pick brains of me and Cathy at all points. You have my e-mail address, don’t you, in case you don’t want to clog up your blog? Feel free if necessary.

    • Also, the contact details of all the various departments at Stanmore are easily found on teh interwebs (I just did), so it would be possible to contact the relevant department to find out if a referral has been made.

      If no referral has been made then complain with extreme prejudice about whoever it was who said they would.

      Anyone telling you to chase it up yourself is being extremely unhelpful and it is the responsibility of the referrer to chase that up, not you. A national specialist service of that sort rarely accepts self-referral, so contact MUST come from a relevant clinician. But as various people are already being unhelpful a bit of digging yourself would seem to be necessary to find out if they did do what they said they would.


      • OK, I’ve rummaged on Stanmore’s website: referrals can only come from a GP or consultant; there are on-line referral forms “to help streamline the referral process”

        You are being fobbed off here, Percy.

      • Gaaah thank you – This is all currently just so much *muchness* that I couldn’t even think where to begin. Presumably first step is to get the GP to refer me again, and then to get the complaints form for Stanmore and list off the dates on which I’d been referred in the past which they’d “Lost”?

  2. Find out from Stanmore IF a referral was actually made first: if it hasn’t complaint is against those who said they would refer; if it has then complaint might be against Stanmore, depending on their time scales for seeing new referrals. If a referral to Stanmore was made you should have received an acknowledgement from them with some indication of likely times scale.

    And get someone to refer again…

  3. GP is the logical first port of call. It’s their job to progress chase for you – if no joy there then try to identify who has botched this up and get a complaint in writing. Such incompetence should not go unpunished.

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