A good GP is like gold dust.
It’s not that I believe the vast majority of doctors are bad doctors, it’s just that I think many have a specific attitude to healthcare. They want to see a patient, diagnose the problem, hand over a prescription and see them in a few years time for another issue.
However, when someone has a chronic illness – they’re obviously way past that point. There are no antibiotics for us, no treatment that will make it go away – and I think many doctors find that frustrating.
It takes a special kind of doctor to remain supportive and helpful in the long-term. To not give up as soon as one medication fails, or a treatment doesn’t work as suspected, or a medication helps one symptom – but creates another which now needs treating.
I have a check list of some of the qualities I like in a GP:
* A good doctor doesn’t roll their eyes when they ask how they can help, and you pull out a list. A good doctor realises for a chronically ill patient each symptom is connected, and shouldn’t be restricted into only discussing one problem at a time.
* A good doctor realises every symptom has significance. For example, the medication I am on for pain relief has unfortunately caused me to have acne. I find this really difficult, and I don’t want it dismissed as there are more ‘important’ issues.
* A good doctor doesn’t get frustrated when you come in clutching the latest breakthrough study, but reads it and explains whether it’s possible in my case or not.
* A good doctor let’s you cry when it’s all too much, and is thrilled for you when something goes well.
* A good doctor doesn’t dismiss a new symptom as just part of the condition, and carefully checks it first.
My GP is amazing. She has this special quality about her that you feel she truly cares about all her patients. She fights for us – will battle the system or a consultant when needed.
A GP to me is more important than a good consultant. They are really in charge of your care, your medication and the day-to-day stuff of your condition.
Unfortunately, a few months ago my GP informed me she was leaving the practice. I was, and still am, gutted.
I’ve been with the GP practice my whole life – but since I moved to the other side of town, and since the one GP at the surgery I like will be going, it made sense to move to one closer to home.
My GP highly recommended a specific doctor as best to treat my particular condition, but when I called them the receptionist informed me I was out of their catchment area by a road. When I told her though, she immediately picked up the phone and said not to worry, they owe her a favour and she’d cash in it. By the time I got home I’d had a call from their practice manager to say I was welcome to join the surgery.
Today I have my last ever appointment with her. I’ve got her a thank you gift, but I know there will be more tears!
Edit: There were tears from both us.