As you will know, I have been talking a lot about how hard it is to get a GP appointment face to face. With many of you experiencing the same. This is shocking and something, that does need addressing as there are just some things we do need to see a GP about face to face and not just talk over the phone.
My local MP is Ed Davey, who is also the lead of the Lib Dems, and someone I have seen when dealing with problems with C and who has always been very understanding and helpful. Today I have sent him an email, which I will share below
Dear Sir Davey
I am writing to you as one of your constituents and also on behalf of the UK.
You have helped me on a few occasions with dealing with problems we faced at Kingston Hospital, and know you to be supportive and caring on matters of health.
This past year has been a different for all of us, and one area that has changed and suffered is medical appointments. While lockdowns were on, everyone was aware and happy to help with maintaining safety and the start of telephone appointments. Since lockdown has finished it seems that GP surgeries across the UK, not just in Kingston upon Thames borough is reducing seeing patients.
A few personal experiences are
During lockdown I had a telephone appointment with my GP, and was given a face to face appointment for an earache I had. It was an infection and we spoke of this on the phone and agreed this. So a face to face appointment was not really needed.
You will be aware of Caitlins medical history as we have spoken on this previously. As well as her ME and Fibromyalgia, she also has TMJ which is a jaw problem. This has been getting progressively worse, to the extent she was barley eating or sleeping and in pain. I rang our GP and knew that it was probably too late for an appointment, but the Receptionist said she would triage the call. At gone 5pm that evening I had a call from the Receptionist stating the GP had looked and she has no diagnosis for TMJ. The receptionist went back to the GP with the dates of the diagnosis, she then phoned back with the opening words of with all the medication Caitlin is on, the GP is not able to help. I had to point out a Consultants letter from 2 weeks previously about her medication and what she was currently taking, and that he obviously had not looked at her medical notes. He then phoned and just asked what I wanted him to do?
I also at this time asked for a referral back to the Maxifacial Dept, at first he refused, then two weeks later he sent the request which the department refused. Still no one had seen Caitlin, at this point my parents paid for her to see a private consultant. He examined Caitlin and got me to stand behind him and showed me how bad Caitlins jaw was. I am lucky my parents paid for private treatment, as I would be here with a child barely eating, sleeping or talking and having a knock on effect on her ME.
I have had Gyneacology problems for a few years, recently I have been having serious problems, and 5 telephone appointments. One of these was an out of hours Dr, who could not understand why I had not been seen face to face by my surgery and that by law they should be offering face to face appointments especially as I needed swabs etc taking. I rang and had another appointment with my surgery and told I do not need to be seen she knew exactly what it was and gave me treatment. I am still suffering and do need to be seen.
Also my Mum pointed out that for her generation a lot of them do not use apps on phones and can not take pictures and send things through.
I write a blog and put a poll out to my audience, and shocked that over 65% are facing the same. Speaking to friends and they are experiencing the same, one friend had this with her 1 week old granddaughter and ended up sitting in Kingston A&E for 5 hours.
This is not just a local issue this is a nationwide issue and something that needs addressing, as it really is a matter of time before something serious happens with devastating results.
I hope that you can bring this to the attention of the Government and highlight how we are now struggling.
Thank you for any help you can bring to this
Samantha Donnelly (Constituent)
I am hoping this will be the start of things changing, before anyone suffers.
If you have any experiences, please share below