Managing Your GP. Wednesday July 16, 2014
Earlier this month I had a change of GP and medication.
Maybe that gives the wrong impression; I am sure the change of medication would have come about had I not changed GP, but my former GP is now the senior partner and has reduced her hours so that one has to wait a long time for an appointment. I had faithfully promised my Moodscope Buddy that I would see somebody very soon (a week of scores below 10% had caused considerable anxiety), so I booked the next available appointment.
Our poor overworked GPs get something like seven minutes per patient (maybe twelve minutes – but it's really not that long) and when you're dealing with something complicated like a mental health issue how can you expect them to get up to speed with your case in that length of time; especially, if like many of us, you have pages and pages and pages of health record notes? I was concerned about this and wanted to be proactive in managing my appointment.
So I sent the GP an email, outlining my case and history. Not a long one, just about 350 words that she could read much more quickly than with me talking to her. I also took my husband along to the appointment; partly for emotional comfort, but also so he could support or qualify any of my statements regarding my symptoms and the effect they have on family life.
I think I've said before that I am fortunate in my GP practice. They are a forward thinking lot who run late surgeries, will prescribe over the phone for simple conditions, run phone consultations (not sure if they do Skype yet) and are fully aware that drugs are not the answer to everything.
What I did with this GP might not work with every GP. But it was successful this time; in fact, I was thanked for sending the email. Apparently it was very useful and she'd like it if more patients did it too! I was also asked to send a follow-up email so she could put in my notes how effective this new medication is.
I now have a new medication which is much more effective than the last lot (hallelujah!), while not being so effective it makes me feel as if I'm better. The Moodscope score is up to 40%, and life is bearable again – for both me and my family.
And I have a new GP – who is just as lovely as my former GP: I am truly blessed.
But I'm sure being proactive helped.
A Moodscope member.