Doctor phobia

Where do you go if you have a doctor phobia? There are special dentists for dentist phobias but I can't find a service that will meet my needs.

I'm ok with doctors in a social sense (ironically I work in a hospital). I'm not needle phobic or medicine phobic, I don't have "health anxiety" or hypochondria. I'm literally afraid of the doctor in a consultation setting.

I'm just about ok attending hospital appointments as it's the same doctors I have been under for years and they've proved they're taking me seriously but I can't attend my GP as I'm terrified that I won't be taken seriously or I'll be treated for an incorrect condition.

I have a long history of complex medical problems and missed or mis-diagnoses.

I need to discuss a problem with my current medication with my doctor and I can't even bring myself to lift the phone to call the surgery.
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Replies

  • pollyanna_26pollyanna_26 Forumite
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    Is there anyone who could attend this appointment with you ?
    My daughter now 32 has similar experiences to yours .
    I do recall reading of the nightmare of much of your treatment somewhere on the threads a while ago .
    My first question is do you have a " named GP " or is it pot luck ?
    My daughter is lucky to have had only 2 from birth one following on from the retirement of the first . I'm aware that is very lucky .
    A lot depends on if you know who you will be seeing and if previous consultations have felt ok .
    If it would help write down what you want to say and hand it over .
    When my daughter is in full anxiety and panic mode that's what happens and he thinks it a good thing as he's reading her thoughts not listening to me trying to translate them .
    I wonder if there is anyone who could support you during Dr and Hospital visits .
    I'm appointee for my daughter for both NHS and DWP .
    Perhaps a family member or friend .
    I don't know the situation in Scotland but there may be a charity that could help in this issue
    I wish you a decent appt .
    Take care
    polly :)
    It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

    There but for fortune go you and I.
  • GlasweJenGlasweJen Forumite
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    Is there anyone who could attend this appointment with you ?
    My daughter now 32 has similar experiences to yours .
    I do recall reading of the nightmare of much of your treatment somewhere on the threads a while ago .
    My first question is do you have a " named GP " or is it pot luck ?
    My daughter is lucky to have had only 2 from birth one following on from the retirement of the first . I'm aware that is very lucky .
    A lot depends on if you know who you will be seeing and if previous consultations have felt ok .
    If it would help write down what you want to say and hand it over .
    When my daughter is in full anxiety and panic mode that's what happens and he thinks it a good thing as he's reading her thoughts not listening to me trying to translate them .
    I wonder if there is anyone who could support you during Dr and Hospital visits .
    I'm appointee for my daughter for both NHS and DWP .
    Perhaps a family member or friend .
    I don't know the situation in Scotland but there may be a charity that could help in this issue
    I wish you a decent appt .
    Take care
    polly :)

    It's pretty much pot luck, I've met my named GP twice and he's one of those ones who thinks he's some sort of god. He argues with consultants advice, decides on a whim to change my meds and just generally is a nightmare to deal with. The practice has loads of doctors so I don't usually see him thankfully but it's him who authorises my repeats and adds on any meds from the hospital.

    I wrote to the practice about 18 months ago asking for a referral to mental health services as I was in full paranoia mode and couldn't see a GP if you held a gun to my head but I only got a letter back 8 weeks later saying I need to make an appointment. I eventually self referred and did a course of CBT but it wasn't helpful and I was discharged by the nurse at the review appointment because I wasn't suicidal. I've seen a doctor at the practice maybe twice since then, once when I collapsed on the street outside and was physically dragged in by a member of the public. I usually try to avoid the GP, end up ill out of hours and land myself at A&E because the OOH service send an ambulance as they don't want me to attend the out of hours doctor service. I'm usually in no state to argue at that point.

    I don't really have anyone I could take to appointments. My mum used to come but she's not willing to do it any more. A lot of my problems were blamed on her and it was just as traumatic for her as me, she's just not up for it any more.

    I'm miles away from my siblings and they all work full time as does my husband. GP appointments can't be made in advance as my GP has a "call on the day" system where you call in the morning and get given a time and if you call after all the times are given out you can get an emergency appointment but it's only 5 minutes long and just for the emergency condition. That means my husband can't take time off to come as he wouldn't know if I got in or not. I doubt I could explain what's wrong mentally in 5 minutes. I'm not sure he really understands it anyway, he kind of leaves my medical stuff to me as he doesn't like treading on other doctors toes.

    I've googled local mental health charities, emailed big heart charities and neurological charities but no one has an answer. There's a special GP service for people with learning difficulties but they don't take people who don't have learning difficulties even if they're phobic.

    My next step I suppose is to write to the health board and ask if I'm missing something and if they have this provision somewhere but I don't know who to write to.
  • pollyanna_26pollyanna_26 Forumite
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    It makes me so angry that there isn't a consistent way of patient care across the NHS . They aren't there to be arrogant or incapable of understanding what a patient is describing . They spent enough years in med school to do that even if they need Google to confirm .

    Is there a "Telephone Appointment " service at the practice ?
    At ours you can call to request an appointment to speak to your named Doctor by phone . Ours is only a small 2 Dr practice but the few times I've needed to do it he calls back within a few hours after morning calls and surgery to discuss whatever is going on .
    If that exists would you feel less anxious doing it that way ? Even if you do have to see him if it results in a change of medication at least the ground work will have been done and you shouldn't need to start from scratch .

    Regarding MH services here in NW England they're pretty broken .
    Our own local services were broken up a few years ago and are under different companies . The main nearby unit has been rubbish for years and was placed in special measures .
    It was quietly hived off to another private company but they haven't even begun building their state of the art unit !

    I know you emailed some mental health charities but did you try talking to anyone at MIND? It very much depends on location and workload but they are good to chat to .
    My daughter had a 6 x 1hour sessions of CBT
    Later 6 1 hr of DBT which did help a lot .
    They were direct referrals from our GP and were a local mental health charity .
    The big stuff which would make a real difference has not been accessible for years .

    If you can't access a phone appointment and depending how quickly you need to discuss the medication would a 1st class signed for letter to your named GP be an idea ? Reception would have to sign for that on delivery to the surgery and you would see that signature and time of delivery online the day after sending on the RM tracking site .
    Just write all you need to say as if you were in the surgery and send it off at the post office .
    I used 1st class signed for DWP stuff as it gives peace of mind and they can't say it wasn't received .

    polly
    It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

    There but for fortune go you and I.
  • w06w06 Forumite
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    it's a feeling i think disproportionately common in folk with some sort of wonkiness and a clinical background. Biting the bullet and or finding (somehow) the folk you can trust the way to go
  • pollyanna_26pollyanna_26 Forumite
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    Hi me again .

    The problem is not you it is the set up at that practice . The ring on the day system is hopeless for those with anxiety and panic issues . The need to know when is important to take away the wondering whether one will be available or not .

    Have you ever been able to discuss with any of the GPs you saw whether there is also another way ?

    Our practice does operate the ring on the day but in a number of patients the doctor uses a different way .
    In my daughters case because of her worsening physical health and ups and downs in mental health plus the fact he is doing shared care with Rheumo hospital in a different trust quite a distance away he began booking in the next appt during the present one .
    It began four years ago as every 4 weeks then went to 3 and for the past year has been 2 weekly .
    Every 4 weeks he prints off all her prescriptions while we're talking It means there is no panic over meds or the next appt date as all is sorted .

    Is there any point in trying to join another practice ? Maybe if there is one in the catchment area it could be worth asking the people you work with if they have any knowledge of it and would they recommend .

    Thinking back our practice also has a prebook service at reception for anyone to try to book in advance it generally operates a month at a time and it is likely to give you an appt within that time scale .
    You are told when you ask at the desk and are free to accept the offered date or try the ring on the day instead .
    At least if yours offers that service you may get a fixed date and your husband could arrange to go with you .

    Hope you sort something - I think I'll wrap our Dr in cotton wool to protect him :D
    If I ever rule the world , we'll clone him because there should be a fair and level service for all .

    Take care
    polly
    It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

    There but for fortune go you and I.
  • IAmWalesIAmWales Forumite
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    As it is a medication issue have you spoken to a pharmacist? They can't change your prescription but they can advise on the best way forward. They may even speak to the GP for you, particularly if they are a community pharmacist (not all areas have them). Also most specialisms at the hospital will have a specialist pharmacist, they should be able to advise.
  • minimad1970minimad1970 Forumite
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    I suffer with anxiety and find doctors appointments really stressful. For me it's the crowded waiting room and the thought of my name being called and having to walk over in front of loads of people. I try to use telephone appointments if it's something that doesn't need to be seen, I don't really like using the phone but at least the anxiety is limited to an hour wait.

    I walked around with a broken ankle for 10 weeks before I had to finally go to the Minor injuries unit. They were brilliant there once I'd explained my difficulties, they let me wait in a very quiet corridor.

    Good luck.
  • GlasweJenGlasweJen Forumite
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    The problem is not you it is the set up at that practice . The ring on the day system is hopeless for those with anxiety and panic issues . The need to know when is important to take away the wondering whether one will be available or not .

    Have you ever been able to discuss with any of the GPs you saw whether there is also another way ?
    they don't do any advance appointments for doctor, only for things like the asthma nurse, baby checks and blood tests. I've asked before but apparently the surgery has problems before with people booking in advance and not turning up so they took the drastic step of no advance bookings. They will do a telephone appointment but only for ongoing issues, no new problems unless you think you're likely to be contagious.
    Is there any point in trying to join another practice ? Maybe if there is one in the catchment area it could be worth asking the people you work with if they have any knowledge of it and would they recommend .I don't think it would help, at the moment it's any doctor and I'm building up to November when I go back to my specialists. I no longer attend the GP who started the whole munchaussens thing, I've moved doctors a lot because of moving lots with OHs job and this happens everywhere I go. I go through spells where I can just about keep it together and then it deteriorates down to this.
    IAmWales wrote: »
    As it is a medication issue have you spoken to a pharmacist? They can't change your prescription but they can advise on the best way forward. They may even speak to the GP for you, particularly if they are a community pharmacist (not all areas have them). Also most specialisms at the hospital will have a specialist pharmacist, they should be able to advise.
    It's a problem with supply. I'm using a drug 2 times a day and he keeps prescribing 2 a fortnight. My neuro has written to him and asked to prescribe more but GP isn't budging and keeps issuing scripts for 1 pack of 2 and then ignoring requests until 2 weeks elapse.

    On a support group for my illness someone suggested a meeting with the practice manager but I can't even face that. I literally avoid going past the surgery even though it's on my street and the idea of going in makes me ill. Thankfully my scripts go to the local pharmacy.
    I suffer with anxiety and find doctors appointments really stressful. For me it's the crowded waiting room and the thought of my name being called and having to walk over in front of loads of people. I try to use telephone appointments if it's something that doesn't need to be seen, I don't really like using the phone but at least the anxiety is limited to an hour wait.

    I walked around with a broken ankle for 10 weeks before I had to finally go to the Minor injuries unit. They were brilliant there once I'd explained my difficulties, they let me wait in a very quiet corridor.

    Good luck.

    I do that. I needed a head X-ray and my skull had lots of lines where I'd had fractures that were healing but I'd never sought help for them. In theory I should be in A&E a lot due to injuries from blacking out and the extreme pain from under treated cluster headaches but I've not been near an A&E since I was in a car accident last year.

    Thanks everyone. I'm going to try writing to my GP and ask if they can call or if it's possible to be referred to someone who deals with doctor phobics.
  • minimad1970minimad1970 Forumite
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    I really hope they can sort something out for you.
  • pollyanna_26pollyanna_26 Forumite
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    You mentioned the Dr in charge of your meds has shared care .
    Is that with Neurology ? I know he has been contacted by Neuro over not following the correct amount to be prescribed .
    Shared care comes with responsability and is directed from the hospital with the GP under their direction . They can't vary the dose or frequency set down by a consultant .
    Is the hospital reasonably near ? I would be asking for those meds ( if they are from Neuro ) to be available at the hospital pharmacy if it is not too far away .

    You have the opposite experience to my daughter her bad experiences were hospital and consultants and GP meds and all else wise were good .
    polly
    It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

    There but for fortune go you and I.
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