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Partner of patient
Relative of Epping



Poor care at GP surgery

I made an appointment for my partner at our GP surgery as she had been suffering from abdominal pains and fever throughout the night. She wasn’t in a good way at all so I was very glad to get an appointment that morning. Upon arrival we checked in with the receptionist and took a seat. My partner then started to feel very faint and said she felt like she was going to pass out. She looked white as a sheet. I lay her down on the seats and went to tell a receptionist to see if there was anything they could do (no other staff members were around at the time). The receptionist at the desk did not look up from her computer screen and said ‘I’ll be with you in a moment’. It was quite clear something was wrong as I kept looking back at my partner (who was lying down in full view of the receptionist) but still I had to wait a full minute before she looked up from her computer. I then said ‘my girlfriend feels like she is going to faint, is there anything I can give her or any way we could speed up the process of seeing a doctor?’ to which she replied ‘well who is she? I don’t know who she is so what can I do? Do you have an appointment?’ at that precise point the doctor called us in. Already a little upset from this exchange we looked forward to seeing a friendly, reassuring doctor. In fact we got the opposite. Unfortunately I don’t know his name (he didn’t introduce himself). He spoke bad English with a heavily accented accent and came across as very lazy like he didn’t want to be there. He asked a few basic questions, punched my partner’s back in a few places and then asked for a urine sample. It was quite clear she was distressed as she had nearly fainted moments before, but telling him this didn’t make any difference at all to his attitude or demeanour. He didn’t even acknowledge the fact. My partner then asked where the toilet was to give her sample, to which he replied ‘ask the girls at the desk, they will tell you.’ Why it wasn’t just easier to instruct where the toilets were I will never know. Upon returning with the sample, he took it from her and looked at it for a few minutes, said she had a water infection and prescribed antibiotics. He didn’t give us any further information, didn’t say what kind of infection it was, what could have caused it, nothing. We had to ask how many antibiotics to take a day. He didn’t say that we were done, he just sat there. He gave the sample back and a prescription and told my partner to ‘give this to the girls at the desk’. You would like me to give my urine sample to the girls at the desk?! Ok. After queuing for a number of minutes, I went to the desk with the sample (my partner was in too much pain to stand up) and was met with ‘what’s that?’ ‘I’ve been told to give this to you.’ ‘To me? Why?’ ‘I don’t know the doctor said to give this to you.’ To her credit the receptionist became much friendlier with me whilst bemoaning the doctors: ‘they do this all the time, we’re just left with urine samples and don’t know what to do with them. After receiving the prescription we then left. Now I am sure you will agree that the treatment my partner received was completely unacceptable. I have never experienced a doctor as lazy, unresponsive or indecisive with such a distinct lack of ability to reassure somebody who is clearly feeling very unwell. Coupled with the receptionist it made for a very unpleasant experience indeed. There has been no change to my partner’s condition since she began the course of antibiotics so looks like we may need to go to casualty now. Hopefully she will receive a better level of care there.

2 Responses

 Patient on 05th June 2013

Dear Poppy ,  I am really sorry to hear that your GP surgery has been a block to research. Unfortunately, as I don't know who the surgery is or what the study or disease area is I can only provide a limited response. I am based in one of the local Hospitals where we encourage research so I am very disappointed to hear about your experience. We also have a very active Research Team in Primary Care so all local GPs have been exposed to Research and how they can obtain support from the research team if they require this. From the sound of it the study you are interested requires GP referral – this is often known as Patient Identification. GP surgeries often act as Patient Identification Centres (“PICs”). If you are under the care of a Hospital Consultant for your condition, it may be worth while contacting the Consultant. You could provide the Consultant with information about the study and see if they are more approachable? Alternatively, you could contact the Hospital Research and Development (“R&D”) Department via the switchboard. They should be able to help and guide you. May I take this opportunity to wish you all the best and I hope that you manage to move this forward in some way.  Kindest regards,  Daisy

 Public on 17th May 2013

NOTE from PEBL: Dear “partner of patient” - sorry for the delay in posting your blog. Usually PEBL contributions appear within a day (or 2 at weekends). The delay was due to work on the switch over to the new improved PEBL site which will launch very soon. Your story has been sent directly to the Patient Experience managers and to the Community Representatives at West Essex CCG and also brought to the attention of the manager of the GP practice. We have edited the post to remove identifying characteristics, following PEBL rules.

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