The Latest NHS Complaint

The week before Christmas, I had to see a GP that I don’t normally attend, owing to the fact that LGP is so popular that I couldn’t get an appointment with him. The appointment was mainly to confirm the diagnosis of IBS, given as I had a number of blood tests to rule out other conditions. The below, addressed to the surgery’s Practice Manager, details what took place in the appointment.

Dear Sir or Madam

Re:​ Complaint

It is with regret that I am writing to you in order to make a complaint about an appointment that I had with Dr Arsehole on Friday 18 December 2009 at 8.40am. In particular, I wish to make my views known about Dr Twatbag’s dismissive and patronising approach in relation to my health issues.

The appointment was primarily scheduled to discuss a physical health problem. I had been told previously by a colleague of Dr Shithead’s that medication was available to assist in the management of this condition, a fact that Dr Wanker confirmed. However, he then refused to prescribe me anything to alleviate the severity of my symptoms, citing my age without providing any substantive reasoning. I am baffled as to the relevance of an individual’s age to their need or otherwise for medication, and was not offered an explanation. Furthermore, Dr Knobjockey chose to fixate on my weight at this juncture. I do recognise that I am overweight, but as intimated to the doctor, have recently been dieting and exercising, resulting in the loss of over three stones. Despite my attempts to make this clear, the physician continued to speak condescendingly to me about the strain on resources that the “obesity epidemic” is causing.

However, it was a discussion around my mental health that caused the most offence and which, in my view, demonstrated not only a lack of sympathy for mental illness, but in fact ignorance surrounding this group of health conditions. When I asked for medication to help combat insomnia and anxiety, Dr Bollockfist refused, in an irritable and frankly almost hostile fashion. In the past I have been refused these medications, and would certainly not issue a complaint on those grounds alone. However, I do not think it is unreasonable for me to have expected this request to have been denied respectfully and sympathetically, with an explanation of the reasoning.

Regarding my chronic sleep deprivation, Dr Cuntfeatures unhelpfully told me that a lack of sleep, no matter how long-term, “won’t kill [me]”, failing utterly to offer any practical help or advice on the matter. Perhaps this is, literally speaking, true, but this denies the extremely serious effects a lack of sleep can have on normal daily functioning. I am also fairly sure that this does not constitute professional advice nor assistance. I should not have to point out that forced sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.

Dr Bastardface discussed insomnia that he had experienced following a personal bereavement; whilst obviously I have the greatest sympathy for his loss, I fail to see the relevance of the example, and indeed believe that the implied suggestion was that because my insomnia is not necessarily circumstantial that it is therefore somehow less real or less deserving of attention than a lack of sleep caused by a distinct traumatic event. He then, to my astonishment, point blank denied a connection between psychotic symptoms and insomnia. Might I be so bold as to suggest that Dr Dickhead researches this more fully; insomnia is, in fact, well known to cause or increase psychosis and the symptoms of psychiatric illness (source).

In discussion of the illnesses that (at least in part) contribute to the aforesaid, I was dismayed by the allegation that I was simply trying to “medicalise” my conditions. I do not believe this to be fair at all – I am presently undergoing intense psychotherapy and merely wish to try and manage my symptoms until it has reached a satisfactory conclusion (incidentally, please see the enclosed letter to Mindwise regarding the disturbing possibility of a premature cessation of this necessary process. If I cannot receive psychotherapy to sort through my illnesses psychologically, I fail to see what choice I have but to seek medical intervention). I would add, also, that even if I were ‘medicalising’ my illnesses that they are, indeed, at least partly biological. Borderline Personality Disorder is thought to exist in individuals with a biological predisposition (sources) and bipolar disorder is considered primarily a medical illness (sources). Both are, of course, considered serious mental illnesses, having disproportionate rates of psychosis, suicide and self-harm (sources).

Incidentally, I noted with interest that my file does not reflect these diagnoses, still stating that I suffer from depression and anxiety. Whilst these co-morbidities do exist, my primary diagnosis is BPD (with psychotic features) with a differential diagnosis of bipolar disorder, type II.

Overall, it was not so much what was said that upset me (though I felt that to be lacking too) as the manner and tone in which it was said. Although I felt Dr Bellend’s response to my physical complaint was inadequate, it was at least presented fairly amicably by him. His attitude to my mental illness was, however, dismissive, unsympathetic and thoroughly unhelpful – I would say it bordered on disdainful, indeed.

Whilst I appreciate the subjectivity of this judgement, I would hope that the fact I have never made a complaint about [the practice] in my life until now would indicate that I am not wont to take things out of context. Unfortunately I got the distinct impression that the physician was dubious as to the sincerity of my illnesses and that it was felt that I did not have ‘real problems’ (though should he require a list of traumatic events that have helped to contribute to my psychiatric illnesses, I should be happy to provide same). It is sad that such stigma is not only present in society, but apparently in the medical professional also. Dr Cockhead, like anyone, has a perfect entitlement to hold such a view privately, but given his chosen career should not allow it to impinge on his professional practice.

I would like to make clear that, in general, I have felt very much supported by the professionals at the practice – in particular, I would like to thank [LGP], [the Nurse Practitioner] and all the nursing staff for the support, respect and professionalism that they have shown me. I have also had the pleasure of having positive interactions with Dr Ballbag in the past, and would therefore hope that this incident merely represents a ‘blip’ in the professionalism of his practice. However, given the distress it caused me and the apparent lack of awareness that it represents, I felt that it was imperative to bring it to your attention.

Thank you for your time.

Best regards.

Yours etc.

Enc (of the letter to the advocacy service).


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13 Responses to “The Latest NHS Complaint”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Serial Insomniac, wounded genius. wounded genius said: RT @serial_insomnia: The Latest NHS Complaint: http://wp.me/pvWqn-dc […]

  2. You frickin rule girl!

    I love this letter … can I make a copy to send to my GP who said *exactly* the same thing to me re insomnia a couple of weeks ago? (am now switching surgeries)

    Rock and indeed roll on fabulous one ❤ xx

  3. Wounded Genius Says:

    (Love that your tags read “nhs, rant, the NHS is shit”)

    Another example of #NHSfail.

    So sad.

    I have 6 doctors at my GP practice. 5 of them are grumpy and unhelpful if not outright rude and that’s just about your day-to-day things like getting stabbed with flu vaccines. The exception is my assigned doctor who is a flippin superstar but he is retiring this year.

    I put this pervasive attitude (that so many of us seem to be experiencing) down to the NHS generally treating GPs like shit – a question of fecal gravity with us at the bottom (pun not intended).

    Fortunately, I have been refused anything resembling mental health assistance (unless you count initially forcefeeding me meds then being unable to give me an appointment to get a repeat prescription resulting in an unexpected and hellish cold turkey) and therefore can control the amount of contact with and reliance on said NHS services.

    I would rather have the option to put my NI contributions into private healthcare where I would be legally entitled to appropriate treatment.

    Keep fighting the good fight mate.

    WG

  4. […] This post was Twitted by bosca […]

  5. Good luck with the complaint. I have been tempted a few times to issue complaints about a couple of the docs at my practice but chickened out. I now just stick to Dr N who is wonderful and avoid the others!

  6. Good luck with the complaint – let us know how it turns out.

    (And for the record, a complete lack of sleep can apparently kill: http://www.slate.com/id/2218092/
    (not the most scientific of articles, but I remember being taught about this stuff in lectures.)

    Hopefully in future you’ll be able to see LGP, although I know how difficult it can be since the good doctors always seem to get popular.

    Take care,
    Differently

  7. Great letter sweetie. I hope you receive a helpful answer or any answer at all. Sometimes NHS completely fails doesn’t it. There’s one shite GP at my practice (Dr Shithead) and all the others seem to be relatively competent although one is a bitch about handing out Zopiclone.

    I very much doubt that someone who has suffered temporary insomnia has any idea whatsoever what it’s like to go without sleep night after night after night, feeling your mood get more and more disjointed and fucked up and not getting any escape through sleep. In many ways it’s worse than death. Well not that I’ve ever tried death but you know what I mean.

    Just wanted to let you know that you’re an absolute star – I likes you.

    Take care xxx

  8. Excellent letter, everytime the name changed for the doctor I nearly fell off the chair laughing! 🙂

  9. I wonder if the doctor wasn’t trying to prevent doctor shopping for a benzodiazepine prescription. Many people go in and say they have these symptoms just to get pills for recreational use or to sell.

    On the other hand, many of the things you say he said seem really off the chart. Sleeping disturances are one of the most important factors contributing to mood instability and psychosis, as you mentioned. Also, “medicalizing” your symptoms is exactly what the point of psychiatry is: fit common mental or emotional deficiencies into disorders so they can be better examined and treated.

    I would not waste your time with this doctor, assuming you can see someone else. He seems hostile, regardless of right or wrong opinions.

  10. A great letter!…Maybe your GP. should be reminded of his days as a Junior hospital Dr..(House Officer and Senior House Officer),When he would have been expected to be awake and functioning for 36/48 hours @ a time! I can`t believe he has forgotten how fucking terrible THAT feels!! And those of us who suffer that level of exhaustion on a CONTINUOUS basis,(maybe not having to save lives)! BUT nevertheless are expected to function on a level that allows us to cope with other such activities of daily living!!
    He sounds totally insensitive and also shouldn`t be trotting out this “obesity” induced crap to someone who is showing such a positive approach in weight reduction and exercise! Having lost THREE stone already is a FANTASTIC achievement!!..And should be met with nothing short of HUGE encouragement and praise!! ..Talk about kicking someone when they`re down! I hope your letter will succeed in bringing this ignorant shit down a peg or ten!!…Well done you!…CVM.xx

  11. I’d love to reply to you all individually as I normally do, but I’m on a real downer today and can’t motivate myself. So just a big thank you and group hug to you all – love yas folks. As ever I appreciate your support and interest.

    SI xxx

  12. Bloody hell, what an absolute tosser! I’m actually speechless, which doesn’t happen to me very often. Wonderful letter.

    • Thanks Karita 🙂 I was basically the same in the office with him – I went to argue at one point, but just couldn’t. I was stunned. Prick.

      I’ve been looking on the health service’s website about complaints and see that I should have expected an acknowledgment of the letter withing two to three working days. That timeframe has long since passed. I’ll give them another few days on the grounds that some of their other staff are very good, but if I haven’t heard anything soon, I think a follow-up letter may be required..!

      Take care x

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