Mental health issues
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Access requirements when speaking to the doctor

Joe__FJoe__F Member Posts: 25 Listener
edited January 14 in Mental health issues
I wasn't really sure where to post this question,  so mental health issues looks like the most appropriate one.

I have post-traumatic stress disorder, and I regularly have nightmares/flashbacks in the night that keep me awake. I often sleep something like 12am to 4am and then again 7am to 10am, and because of this I can't make commitments in the morning. I tried recently making a regular commitment at 10 a.m., and I had to cancel it because it interfered too much with my sleep, which causes me a whole load of extra difficulties with everyday functioning.

I'm finding that this is making it difficult for me to make an appointment with my GP at the moment. I've tried ringing the surgery a few times in the last week. By the time I ring all of the appointments with him for that day are generally gone and they tell me that it's not possible to book an appointment to speak to him on a different day in the afternoon. They tell me I must wake up at 8:30 to ring them and book an appointment for the same day. I've tried to explain to the person who answers me on the phone that it is a disabled access requirement for me that I need to be able to book an appointment with the GP, to speak to him in the afternoon on a different day. Today for example they told me that this is not possible, but that I could speak to a different GP tomorrow afternoon. I don't feel like this is a satisfactory solution.

It seems to me that the problem is that the secretary who I speak to on the phone is probably quite busy booking different appointments, that their computer system is likely to be set up in a way which doesn't allow for what I currently need, and that if I'm going to be able to find a resolution to this difficulty I probably need to speak to somebody else than just the person who first answers the phone to me. My evaluation on the situation is that I have some additional needs as a result of my disability, and I'm asking them to make reasonable adjustments as a result of this and so they should have to do that. Does someone with more knowledge about this than me agree with my evaluation? It would be great to have some advice about how I can most effectively communicate to someone at the surgery who will listen to what I need about this and make some changes for me.

I've had this same difficulty with the doctors surgery for quite a long time, and I feel really angry about it. I have been managing and healing from PTSD for two years now and almost all of the healthcare support I've had has been private. I waited 9 months to get an NHS appointment for psychotherapy a year ago, and after the end of the 9 months a similar scenario happened and in the end I wasn't able to access the NHS service and they took me off the waiting list. From my perspective, the way these different NHS appointment booking systems are set up discriminates against me on grounds of my disability, as a result of my mental health. I find it particularly ironic (and infuriating? humiliating?) that the local NHS mental health service can't accommodate for this.


  • Wini1960Wini1960 Member Posts: 125 Pioneering
    [email protected] Hi i feel for you but as you can see everything has been affected because of COVID19. In terms of getting appointments etc. I would take your issue to PAL as they have the power to intervene on your behalf. However, i would say that all resources whatever they are have been greatly affected even mental health charities have been affected due to lack of funds and long waiting lists. Have you tried a PTSD counsellor. If you Google the counselling directory you should find one. I wish you well going forward🙂
  • Joe__FJoe__F Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Hi Wini thanks for your help. Yes I see a psychotherapist regularly but I also need to speak to the GP at this time. What's PAL?
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,284 Disability Gamechanger
    @Jo__F, does your GP practice have an option to bypass the front desk receptionist, my practice has four options the last allows you to talk to one of the back room staff who can arrange a call back from the duty doctor who have been very helpful and arranged an appointment to attend the surgery within hours of the call so if you have the option to do this then take and see if you get the help advise you require.
  • littleacornlittleacorn Member Posts: 152 Pioneering
    When you phone and cant get access to the GP ask to speak to the practice manager or their deputy and expalain the position to them. They may put a note on your file so that future attempts at making appointments will be easier. If you dont want to do this you could write a letter addressing it to the practice manager and explain your problems. Hope this helps.
  • Joe__FJoe__F Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Thanks for your help Wilko and littleacorn, I'll try both of your suggestions.

    Because I feel angry and like I've been mistreated, I sometimes can't stop myself from being a bit confrontational with the staff in this kind of situation. It doesn't help me very much to get what I need from them, and it isn't nice for them either I'm sure. Nothing too serious I don't shout and swear or anything, I sometimes just end up arguing about stuff that isn't going anywhere. Does anyone have any advice on how to manage that kind of difficulty? Or does anyone else have the same kind of difficulty? I think it would help a lot to hear about anyone else's similar experiences 
  • cupcake88cupcake88 Member Posts: 873 Pioneering
    Hi joe I my self have ptsd as long with pychosis , anxiety and ocd . I also suffer with flash backs threw the night so I understand . I know that all doctors are still doing over the phone appointments . Each surgery is run differently but I personally would put it a written complaint . 

    I’m sorry you have had to go private to get help . I finally got help when I lost my mind and ended up at a and e . I do get support now I have a mental health nurse . Do you have any crisis teams near you you could contact who may be able to help ? I personally found my gp a waste of time it was ending up in hospital that be my care it’s a shame people have to get that Poorly before asking for help . 
  • cupcake88cupcake88 Member Posts: 873 Pioneering
    Before getting the help that was suppose to say 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,256 Disability Gamechanger
    Do you need to 'see' your doctor or do you already know what you need?

    I've always had problems contacting a GP due to mental issues (unable to use phones, commit to times, meet face to face, etc) but have recently been made aware of the 'eConsult' system.  I don't know if all surgeries use the system, but it's essentially an email service so you can contact the GP at a time that suits you, and they'll email back within a day or 2, or you can probably request a call back if that would be better for you.  
  • littleacornlittleacorn Member Posts: 152 Pioneering
    I often feel like I have been unfairly treated and need to address the issue. It is so easy to take this out on those who are trying to help. The strategy I use is to do it on a day I feel calmer and try and put my points across as though I am acting for someone else. This is not to say I pretend to be someone else but to try and distance myself from the emotion. This is difficult and may need practice. I make notes which I can refer to and keep them next to the phone. The other thing I try not to do is to suggest an answer for the person you are speaking to. Always remeber when things go quiet you dont have fill the silence with a soloution, just wait it out, sooner or later the person on the other end will speak. If they suggest someting that is not approprate for you give a simple response like so what shall I do?  Or what do you suggest I do and leave the silence. It works for me but as I said earlier it may take a few attempts to practice. Good luck
  • Joe__FJoe__F Member Posts: 25 Listener
    Thanks for the advice, and I'll take a look at the econsult system that sounds helpful.  Also thanks for sharing your experiences, it really helps to know that I'm not alone in this
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