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need advice please, not ms

Does anyone know if you can self refer to a pain management clinic? Its for my dad, hes got artritis in both hips n spine and goes through horrific pain with it, the dr refuses to refer him to the local pain management clinic telling him its not that bad even tho he’s on morphine patches and tramadol, he really needs help on this but he’s got a as@hole of a dr who tells him its not that bad, I’ve seen my dad cry his eyes out coz of the pain he goes thru, I really need advice on this please, he’s also tried accupuncture paid for by me n mum coz as I said the drs a idiot, there’s no other dr in the area thats takin on new patients at the moment and we can’t afford to go private to get him proper help

Hi,

I’m sorry to say, I don’t believe you can self-refer. You’ll need the backing of a GP - even if not the present one.

Are there no other partners at the practice, that you could ask for your dad to see? It’s quite rare for a GP to work solo these days.

Failing that, I don’t know whether professional ethics allow it or not, but I wonder if you could contact one of the surgeries that supposedly aren’t accepting new patients, explain your father urgently needs a 2nd opinion, and would they be prepared to see him just once?

If you were able to pay privately for acupuncture, is there no way you might be able to do the same for a one-off GP appointment?

I’ve just done a quick check on BUPA (not the only possible provider), and they will do 15 minutes for £67.49, or half an hour for £123. I know that is a lot, but when I had acupuncture it was £30 a time, so I’m thinking it might be manageable for you, if it was just the once.

The only other course I can suggest is to complain to the practice manager about the GP. Say that you are not happy about your father’s ongoing unresolved pain, and the unsatisfactory response to this.

Despite what is claimed, unfortunately, not ALL pain can be resolved successfully, even with the help of a pain clinic. Sadly, I do know what it’s like to watch a father crying with pain that is not responding to treatment. I do think the pain-clinic helped him a bit, but they can’t work miracles. I think he was a bit disappointed he didn’t get more spectacular results, so in the end, they had to be quite firm with him, and say: “Look, we’re NOT here to make you better - we’re just here to help you live with it as best you can”.

I’m getting a bit off-topic here, but I just wanted you to be aware that part of it’s about having realistic expectations. Even if you get him to the pain clinic, it may not be as successful as you’d hoped. It’s at least worth a try, though. A grown man who’s crying with pain shouldn’t be met with: “It’s not that bad!”

Has the GP ever actually seen him in that state, or is he/she just going by what you or your mum have reported?

I used to find part of the problem was medical staff never saw Dad at his worst. They used to visit, and ask: “How have you been?”, and he would say: “Oh, not too bad, thank you” - which was an outright lie, as sometimes he’d been beside himself with pain just a few hours earlier, but somehow wouldn’t admit it, or it just escaped his mind! So I do think absolute clarity about just how bad he’s been is very important too. Don’t let him get away with the standard macho thing of: “Oh, I’ve been fine, thank you.”

Tina

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