Monday, 11 July 2011

Letter to my GP

Following the last 7 weeks of inaction from my GP (Read my post 'Am I Invisible???' to hear the story so far) I've emailed the below letter to her today, in a final attempt to get a response before I resort to contacting PALS, the Patient Advice & Liaison Service. I'm really hoping that my GP will realise just how long it's been since we last spoke, and will contact me. If she doesn't, I simply don't have the spare energy to keep pushing at her to do so ... and as I don't want to actually put a complaint in, (I'm concerned that that would only make the situation worse, plus she's a nice woman and I don't want to make her life any harder than it likely already is, working in a surgery with such low resources!), contacting the Advice & Liaison service seems like the logical next step.

I've never before, in 15 years of ME, gone this far in trying to get my doctor to help me. It feels very unnatural for me (my default setting is just to back off and not bother even asking for help, trying to manage it all alone) and I feel like I'm just a nagging child demanding attention. But I know in my mind at least that these are issues that I can't just ignore, this time - so I'm putting myself out there and hoping with everything in me that this situation finds some resolution, and that she will understand where I'm coming from and not just find me irritating.

I just wish I didn't have to push so hard to get basic needs met! It feels like a very vulnerable place to be, to be honest - like I'm putting myself into the bad guy position. It's certainly stress I can do without.

I'm crossing all my fingers and all my toes, hoping that this works!!!

Dear Dr X
I need to ask you, seriously, whether there is some reason that you haven't contacted me since our last phone call? It is now 7 weeks since you told me on the phone that you would calculate the amount of vitamin d I need to be on, and then contact me the following day ... only you never did. My phonecalls to the surgery and now emails (which took me a lot of energy to write) have gone unanswered and I'm at a complete loss as to what to do. 
I still can't get my appointment to see the gynaecologist, as I don't have the referrals paperwork from you (I need the reference number and a password, I believe, which could just be emailed if that's easier than posting the forms out!) and there are other outstanding issues that I need to discuss with you - all detailed in my first email, which I sent over 3 weeks ago now.

You told me that these things going on right now (cardiac, gynae, & vitamin d deficiency) were all urgent issues which needed to be dealt with straight away, yet they've all been put on hold for 7 weeks. I know from working in the NHS myself that this would never happen with a cancer patient (for example). It's not right that anyone, no matter what their condition, should be in  this situation where they cannot get help for serious issues. 
Please would you email me as soon as possible? I need to know where I stand, and more importantly, I need the vitamin d (and any other supplements I need additionally such as magnesium (to make the vit d absorb better) or calcium) to be prescribed so that I can begin to repair the damage that 8 years of being housebound has done to my body. 

I cannot send someone to the surgery to get my gynae paperwork or to discuss these problems with getting responses from you. Anna isn't able to get out and about very much and my mum's myeloma has just relapsed so her and my dad have enough to worry about without me asking them to call in at the surgery. 
We all found it rather ironic a few weeks ago when my mum had no problems getting a home visit by her GP (we live in the same house, but go to a different surgery) because she was in a lot of pain ... but she is nowhere near as disabled as I am. I'm willing to understand how busy you are and I know this isn't a simple situation because you are very overworked with few resources. But I'm not able to wait any longer, or to continue spending my energy on a fruitless search for help. I need a doctor who will listen, as you have ... but also one who will follow through on their promises and whose word I can trust. 

Kind Regards,


Reader Question

Over the last few weeks I've heard from so many
 of you who have been going through very similar
 things with your own doctors. I'd love to hear from
 you if you've found any solutions to these problems
  and what those solutions were!!   ㋡

Susannah's Signature
I'd love to hear your reply and I know it'll be valued by other readers too! I always try to respond, please just be aware that it can take me some time to find the energy to do so as I've been particularly ill recently and struggling to get online. Thanks for reading! :)



  1. Dear Susannah,

    i think you did a grat job writing that letter to your GP. You waited long enough and you've done all the things you could in order to get her to do what she should have done weeks ago. I also think it's a good thing to go to PALS if she doesnt respond. They can handle it for you and that will save you energy. And sometimes these type of organiations are better listened to than the patient.

    I've done the same in 2 different occasions. I was just fed up with not being heared. We are patients too who need care and we have a right to get the care we need! So dont feel like you're nagging, you're just sticking up for yourself!

    Hope your GP responds soon!

    Michelle x

  2. Well done. I would suggest (if you can do this in the UK) that you send it certified so that when she gets the letter she must sign for it. That way you have it documented as to when she recieved it if you ever need that proof in the future.

    I hope she is able to 'hear' what you are saying.

    Good for you for sticking up for yourself. I so understand that sense of vulnerability and like your being the bad guy. Hate that.

  3. Dear Susannah
    It is great that you have written to your GP to make her aware of how unhappy you are with the service she is providing.
    I know GP's are busy, however, they chose the job and the responsibility that goes with it (and are paid very well). Like everyone else doctors need to be reminded that they are there for their patients benefit and that said patients are not and should never be, ignored, forgotten about or thought of as nusiances.
    If it was not for patients they would not have a job.

    Unfortunately I am just at the stage of thinking, whats the point in asking, but I am very impressed that you are standing up for yourself.

    Take care and good luck.