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Bl**dy Doctor's Again!

Sorry to keep going on about this (although I know I’m not the only one here who has this problem), but I can’t get a doctor’s appointment - AGAIN.

I’m having a bad flare-up of a recurrent eye problem. I’m not sure it’s even MS-related, as nobody “medical” seems to think so, but it’s actually causing me more problems and distress than most of the MS symptoms, at the moment.

It’s like conjunctivitis - though no infection has ever been found. It’s possible it might even be an allergic reaction like hayfever, although it’s only ever the one eye. But this is the best explanation they’ve been able to come up with.

Anyway, I digress. It’s really bad at the moment; my eye is sore, weepy, and half-closed. It’s very depressing, as it’s a constant discomfort, and I can’t see properly. It also makes me look terrible.

I’ve been given notice of redundancy, and, God help me, might have to start actually applying for jobs and going for interviews. How could I go to an interview with the terrible, weepy eye? I don’t have much confidence to begin with, let alone if I can’t even look nice, and have got to walk in there with one eye shut! People DO judge on appearances, even if it’s subconscious. Nobody’s going to hire someone who looks as if they’re riddled with infection - even though they can’t know it’s actually NOT infectious.

So today, I begin the regular pallaver of trying to get a doc’s appt.

Dial on the dot of the prescribed time of 8 a.m. Engaged. Dial again and get recorded message saying the surgery is not open (they’ve forgotten to switch it off yet). Dial several more times, and it alternates between the recorded message, and “engaged” (other poor s*ds having to listen to the recorded message).

Eventually get through, hoping, for once, for a same day appointment (much as I generally dislike them). No, she’s not in this week.

“OK, what’s the soonest I can get?”

“18th July, 18:40?”

“18th July? But I have a weeping eye! Have I got to wait until 18th July? It may have cleared up by then!”

“Well, that’s the earliest you can book. You could try ringing tomorrow, for a same day appointment?”

“I thought you said she’s not in?”

“Oh no, that’s right; she isn’t!”

“Well when is the earliest I could try again for a same day appointment?”

“She’s in next Wednesday, afternoon only. Ring at 8 a.m.”

I already know what will happen. If she’s been out for a week, and is only working half a day, I’m not going to be one of the lucky ones, am I?

So, I’ll just have to keep plugging away with Optrex, anti-histamines, eye mist, and ibuprofen, which seem to calm it down slightly - but only if done absolutely religiously.

How depressing. :frowning:

Tina

Hi I know the feeling, you have to know when you will e poorly. You probably can’t book one for a couple of days time either, you have to rig on the day. I am fortunate as my GP is a top bloke, I leave a message for him, he rings me at dinner and fits me in same day. Try asking for doc to call you back, it may work. Alternative Do you have a walk in centre? If you have see one of the docs there-I have regularly used for my kids when they have had twists/sprains (footie-dance) with sports instead of hospital, hiker and have x-ray. Hope you get yr eye seen too soon. Take it easy Mike x

We have a number of walk in centres round here and they sound your best bet at the moment.

Pip

Hmmm. Just checked, and the nearest walk-in centre is in town, 4.8 miles away (I don’t drive). I’ve used them once, and found them completely useless anyway. I made the stupid mistake of being honest that I have MS, and that made them fearful to treat me for anything, however superficial, in case it might be related. The problem I’d actually gone there for was ear wax. I’d gone completely deaf in one ear, suspected it was wax, and desperately needed it fixed, as I was going away to a college reunion, and wouldn’t be able to hear what they were all saying! Two nurses at the walk-in centre examined me, couldn’t or wouldn’t confirm it was wax, and wanted to refer me to a neurologist (minimum 12 week wait). I managed to get an emergency appt. at the proper doc’s, explained the situation, and that I’d thought it was wax, but the walk-in centre were saying not, so I was aware it could be an MS thing. Doc took one look, rolled her eyes, and said: “There’s a huge amount of wax in there, I can see it! Why couldn’t they?” (They’d obviously been completely paranoid it might be an MS thing, and so wouldn’t help me at all). Doc still wouldn’t help me (docs won’t do syringing any more - you have to book a separate appointment with the nurse). Didn’t have time for that, due going away the next morning, so bought a kit from Boots and did it myself. Took a few tries to get the hang of it, but eventually self-syringed successfully, and was able to attend the reunion with perfect hearing. Would have been quicker and easier if I’d just done that in the first place - bypassed the walk-in centre AND the doctor, neither of whom fixed a simple problem. :frowning: I suspect it would be exactly the same with the eye. As soon as they know I have MS (I could lie, but it’ll be on the records from last time) the walk-in centre won’t touch it, and will offer to refer me to my neuro. T.

Hi Tina If your doc is gonna b a complete ar*****e then change and see if you can get one more sympatheti. Get a list from the PCT, ring the doctors and vett them. See how they get on write a few q’s down Mike x

Mike,

My doctor isn’t; it’s just I can rarely get to see her. It’s the booking system (or lack of one) that’s the problem, not the doctor.

The doctor who refused to syringe the ear for me, even though she could see it was full of wax, wasn’t my usual GP, but one I settled for because I was deaf and desperate.

Apparently, ear-syringing isn’t in their job description. She did look for me, to see if a nurse appointment was available, but one wasn’t, so I went home and did it myself. Success!

Tina

I used to go to a doctor’s just like yours, and it got to the stage where I got through to the receptionist and was told that I couldn’t have an appointment.

So I eventually moved to a surgery in a polyclinic which, although further away, is open 12 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. (even from 8am to 8pm on Christmas Day)

Then I read in the local paper that my old GP had been given an OBE for… services to the community and the NHS. He then was quoted in the paper as lecturing the local population for not looking after themselves and getting checked out for various forms of cancer.

I felt like asking my new doctor for a blood pressure check after reading that.

I think a lot of the problem is the way GPs are funded. They receive a fixed amount per year from the PCT for each patient on their books, so they have a financial incentive to get as many patients on to their books.

If the PCT was doing its job properly, they should be monitoring this situation, so that once the number of registered patients gets above a specified level, the GP doesn’t get any more money until they employ a locum and/or extend their opening hours.

No wonder A&E is so busy.

Sometimes I wish we could have a system like in France, where the doctor is paid by the patient for each appointment. The patient then claims the cost back from the state and their insurance company.

We could have a version of this in the UK whereby the GP does the claiming back from the state and/or insurance company, so that the care is still free at the point of delivery, which was one of the founding principles of the NHS. With such a system though, GPs would have a financial incentive to see patients sooner rather than later, and you wouldn’t get any of the nonsense described above.

Tins This is the case at my docs, you gotta get past receptionist. Try leaving MSG for doc to contact you. They filter apps here like they do there. Mike

Hi Duncan,

I think it has to do with some silly quota or target they have to meet.

I think they want to report that “x % of patients got a same day appointment…”

Of course, if they want to report a very high percentage, one way of achieving that is to make so patients can’t - or find it very hard - to book anything BUT same day.

If they don’t have a same day appointment, they don’t let you make one at all, because that would pull the figures down.

So an artificially positive statistic comes out, showing that “most patients” who make an appointment are seen the same day! It doesn’t mention those patients who weren’t permitted to make an appointment, because there weren’t any slots.

They only measure time from actually making the appointment to being seen, NOT how many times someone asked for an appointment, but couldn’t get one.

So I’m sure, on paper, it all looks very good, and as if most patients could get in straight away. An example of how to lie with statistics!

Tina

Hi T,

As it’s just one eye could be Optic Neuritis; see (that’s not a joke) http://www.mult-sclerosis.org/opticneuritis.html

If you want confirmation go to Spec Savers or Boots they should see (no joke) you right away. I’m not sure if they can tell if there’s a problem with the optic nerve but I should imagine they will tell you need an immediate referral; all right you still have the receptionist problem but it must add weight for you to be seen (no joke) ASAP.

George

Hi You are right in saying Gp,s are part funded on a per patient basis but also funds are also taken awayfrom them on other targets - i.e correct treatment and extended hours - registers on different illness - the number of patients whose blood pressure hasnt come down and numerous other targets that have to be meet so it is not a simple as that. I appreciate the difficulty with making appointments and different areas/gp,s have different ways of dealing

with same day appointments - My GP for example has a set amount of appointments which can be pre booked - think its about 10 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon “urgent” cases which have to call on the day,are then added on to at the end of surgery and that just keeps going until all the people are seen but you may have quiet a long wait and cant choose which gp you see but in my mind if I feel it is urgent as long as I am seen I dont mind who by.This seems to work very well as long as people dont abuse it .

Thanks George, but I’m positive it’s not optic neuritis, as common as that is with MS. It’s been going on for years (though not continuously, of course), both before and after diagnosis. It’s been seen by GPs, opticians, and an optometrist, and not one of them has ever diagnosed or even suspected optic neuritis.

In fact, they have yet to diagnose anything! The optometrist was convinced it was an atypical presentation of chlamydia (Lovely!) As sceptical as I was, as I hadn’t been in an intimate relationship for years, I had no idea how long it might lie dormant, so went along with his suggestion of antibiotics - so convinced was he, even without the results of the test.

Well, guess what - tested NEGATIVE for chlamydia (Pleased, as it was as I would have expected), but that meant the antibiotics had absolutely no effect, and I was still no closer to an explanation.

All they’ve been able to come up with is “allergy”, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that it IS the hayfever season - but nobody has been able to explain why it’s always the same eye. I’ve never heard of anyone who got hayfever only in one eye before!

It does respond to topical application of steroids, which is the only thing that HAS worked (I don’t think this would be true of optic neuritis, because eye drops couldn’t reach the inflamed part - the optic nerve.)

However, you can’t go on steroid eye-drops indefinitely, because it has a tendency to cause other problems.

So my doctor has only prescribed them very reluctantly, when it’s absolutely insufferable. I think now is just such a case, and I do need the steroid drops, but unless or until I can get an appointment, I won’t be having them.

T.

My doctor was using your system but has just changed so you can’t book on the day appointments, but if you turn up between 9 and 10am you have to wait but you WILL be seen by a GP, which is great.

In the past if I have needed to see someone urgently (as in your case) I have demanded a phone consultation with my doctor, which I have always been granted, or phoned my MS nurse, or referred myself to the minor injuries clinic at the hospital who have always been great.

Could it be uveitis Tina? It’s associated with MS (although most medics don’t know that!). It’s treated with steroids.

Karen x

It’s my field and sounds a little like a viral conjunctivitis. Is the discharge watery (apart from when you’ve been asleep and then the eye is crusted over), does your eye sting? It is a self limiting condition but can often take up to 6 weeks to go. Sometimes more. Sometimes you get it in the one eye and then it spreads to the other but never affects the second eye as much as the first. Steroid drops will reduce the inflammation which will ease the pain, but its usually treated with artificial tears to help lubricate the eye, pain killers like neurofen, but if it is a recurring problem you actually need to be seen when its happening.

Tina, I’m in Scotland so might be a bit different here. Could you wait until the surgery closes and then phone the out of hours doctor and you will be seen. I know that’s a bit underhand but I have done that in the past when I couldn’t get an appointment and they weren’t interested. One time was a Friday and my sons slightly red eye in the morning had turned into full blown conjunctivitis by mid afternoon and by that time of course there were no appointment left so I waited until they were closed and phoned the out of hours service. He was seen that evening. I did the same when my daughter had a very bad cold and cough and I couldn’t get an appointment, again she was seen the same evening. She was only a few months old and I was worried about going through the night. But we are just 5 mins away from the out of hours doctors surgery and I drive. Alternatively, in Scotland, a pharmacist can prescribe and we have used this before which I have to say was an excellent service. Could you get to a pharmacy? But, really you want to see your doctor and you can’t, not very satisfactory is it. Cheryl:-)

I also struggle to get appointments. Phoned up last week and the earliest they can see me is the 22nd of august. Cant help thinking of the NHS as a very bad joke made at my expense.

Hi Anitra,

A few years ago I began having trouble like you. It was the eye I suffered ON quite badly affecting my vision permanently.

I got swelling, it would ouze yellow puss and eventually began sticking the lids together. I did get to see gp who had diagnosed blephritis originally, but he too was convinced I had weakness in that eye so gave me antibiotics and some lacri lube to use as he thought I may have dry eye. Ironic eh. The infection or whatever it was did eventually clear up with the antibiotics and the lacri lube I use nightly now has stopped any more problems.

If its true what he said, then we may have particular weaknesses due to damage previously. Also, if your lid doesnt go back to its original position get your eyes tested because sometimes as our eyes try to focus better, our lids can indicate visual problems.

Can imagine your frustration trying to get to see your gp. I dont know why surgeries try make it so bloomin hard, after all theyre supposed to be offering a service - that of care, but if you cant get it when you need it, what care?

Take care,

bren

x

Hello Tina,

If your eye problem is conjunctivitis related it can be greatly relieved if you rub gold (such as a gold ring - the purer i.e. 18 carat the better) onto the eyelids. Good luck with this, and also for the search for a new job.

Take care,

Moira

Hi, Tina,

I just showed my wife who is an Optometrist and she says either see an optician or get some ‘anti-biotic’ lotion from the chemist.

Marcus.