As a rule of thumb, your GP is meant to prevent you and your health deteriorating. Everyone knows (or should know) that you try self-care first, then seek advice from a pharmacist before visiting your GP. Now when this has been done or is not appropriate, you seek help from your GP before jumping straight into going to A&E or ringing 999 for every single concern you have. Severe Asthma can be a medical emergency and does often require skipping straight to 999 but there are countless times when you can prevent this from happening by seeking early help from your GP. You may feel a little tight chested or have a productive cough which is beginning to cause your asthma problems. This is often an early warning sign to go and get help and, with the right medication and treatment, often prevents the blue lights. This is really what your GP should be doing.
I hate bothering doctors. They are incredibly busy and have a lot on their plates. I know all about how stretched the NHS is and if I could diagnose and prescribe my own medications, I would. If I always knew the best course of action, I wouldn’t need them to help. I have a degree in History, not medicine and as a result, I lack the sufficient training to do all of the above. I have rather big issues when it comes to my GP surgery. One of which is getting my medication and the other is to do with getting the appointments and treatment before it all gets out of hand.
When I go to hospital to see the team, usually they will change the medication that I am on or put something new into the routine. The GP is then meant to process this and send it up to the pharmacy – simple right? They don’t even have to talk to me if they don’t want to! Well, when you are put on a course of steroids to help with a sudden deterioration of your asthma, it is pretty important to wean off them and not just suddenly stop. I tend to have attacks when this happens.
So when the hospital fax the prescription request to the GP surgery, you watch the receptionist ring and confirm that the prescription has been sent up to the pharmacy, you do not expect the prescription not to be there. Thankfully, I had enough 1mg Prednisolone tablets to take the 35mg that I needed to. However, taking 35 tablets is just ridiculous! Not only that, but after ringing to explain the importance of that prescription being done, the member of staff lied and tried to blame her colleague. I do wonder whether they do the same thing with insulin because they obviously do not understand the importance of medications and how serious it can get. Not very caring at all!
The other issue that I have is even worse, in my opinion. In my GP surgery, if you need an emergency appointment, you have to ring, tell the receptionist the reason for the appointment and await a call from the duty doctor. The duty doctor can be any of the doctors from the surgery. I had a bit of a tight chest but I was able to walk around and talk in full sentences – not in anyway an emergency. In fact, if I had called 111 I could guarantee that they would have sent me to the GP. However, this duty doctor told me to go to A&E. When I then protested this, I was then told that if I was to go into the surgery and suddenly deteriorate, I would not be able to access help for my asthma. I rang my nurse from the hospital and she agreed that I had followed the correct procedure and that I needed some Prednisolone.
To turn around and give incorrect advice to a patient is ridiculous. If I had gone to A&E, they would have told me to go to my GP. It raises the question around why GP’s are so quick to send patients up to the hospitals when they are under so much pressure already? The health care that I receive is there to prevent hospital visits and admissions! It shows to me, as a patient, the mess that ignorance around Sever Asthma is causing issues when trying to nip problems in the bud.
I am constantly fighting to receive the right treatment at a local level. I should not have to rely on the hospitals when a simple prescription is all you need. To be told that you have to predict your asthma as you may then relieve a block from receiving treatment is utterly disgusting. What do you do? Needless to say, I am writing a formal complaint as I categorically think that the doctor’s behavior was disgusting and dangerous. Stressful – which, ironically, is a big trigger for my asthma.