"Medical negligence by my GP"

About: NHS Fife Victoria Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

I have a number of health issues, both physical and mental, some of which in the past have referral to Psychiatric and CPN Services and others to Secondary Care. I approached my GP with a 3 month history of overwhelming fatigue, which initially put down to stress.

Now, I had developed widespread pain all over my body, in addition to the back pain I have suffered for many years as early osteoarthritis in my spine. I was already on medication for this and did not feel it was helping much. My GP thought I might have fibromyalgia, but I had to wait another year before they would refer me to the Pain Clinic. I was prescribed a different medication by another GP in the Practice, with absolutely no effect on either the pain or my poor sleeping pattern.

By the time I was seen by the Pain Clinic, my Mobility had declined considerably and I now needed a stick to walk. The Pain Clinic agreed with my GPs diagnosis and increased the medication. However, this had to be discontinued due to intolerable side effects.

A few months ago I visited my GP complaining of severe pain in my hands and feet. They did not examine me, merely gave me a prescription! This did not help at all - in fact I was bedridden for almost 4 weeks with my husband having to help me up to the toilet. My husband encouraged me to go back to my GP and to request a referral to Rheumatology at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

Yet again, I felt I was not properly examined by my GP, but they did request some tests. Both blood tests were negative. After several weeks elapsed, I called Rheumatology to ask I was likely to be seen, as my symptoms continue to deteriorate. I was told that the referral had been rejected by the department as being "inappropriate".

 I then complained to the Practice Manager at my surgery. I discovered that Rheumatology rejected the referral as they do not see patients with Fibromyalgia. In their referral, I feel that my GP painted me as a demanding patient who might have Fibromyalgia. They mentioned that I thought I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, as my mother developed this at my age. They did not consider this to be the case. They also described me in the referral as fully mobile with brisk movement, even although I walked very slowly into their room with a stick, and in considerable pain.

 I also requested a referral back to the CPN service as I felt very depressed and agitated. When I checked with the CPNs I discovered that the referral was a routine one, therefore the service did not consider me to be a priority, so I would have to wait several weeks to be seen.

My husband took my GP to task over this, and was told that perhaps I should have requested an urgent appointment. I then received a letter from Stratheden Hospital asking me to call for an appointment. On telephoning, I discovered that my GP had requested that I be seen by a Psychiatrist for a medication review. They told my husband that this was the correct referral pathway to access CPN services, but the CPN called me to tell me that this is not the case, and that they have their own referral pathway.

 As a result of what feels like my GP trivialising my health concerns since I joined the Practice, my mental health has deteriorated to the extent where I am considering suicide. Physically, I am in constant and severe pain.

 I recently had an episode of chest pain, and the paramedics told me they considered that stress was a major factor in the causation of this. I continue to experience palpitations and rapid, irregular pulse two to three times weekly. I no longer feel able to visit my GP surgery as I consider that my concerns will not be taken seriously. In fact, while in the surgery with my husband recently, one of the staff was most rude to me, at the reception desk, within earshot of the patients in the waiting area.

As a retired medical health professional, I am extremely angry at being treated in such a shoddy manner by medical staff who, in my opinion, have not fulfilled their duty of care to me as a patient.. I take exception to being treated as if I am brain dead!

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Response from Donna Hughes, Patient Relations Team Coordinator, Patient Relations, NHS Fife

Dear Krazycatwoman

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your recent experience which was not good to read. I'm sorry you have had this experience of NHS Fife health care services and note that your feedback reflects some distress in your ongoing health issues.

I would be keen to speak to you directly to discuss your situation in more depth and would be grateful if you would consider calling me so that we can discuss this further – 01592 648153


Donna Hughes

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Update posted by Krazycatwoman (the patient)

I visited Patient Relations Department in person accompanied by my husband. I was at the hospital with my son who had a Physiotherapy appointment.

Our computer at home has developed a fault, so I was unable to email the information requested by Patient Relations Officer. A very helpful lady took notes of all the information I provided, promising to pass this information to the Head of Rheumatology for her consideration.

Yesterday morning, I am pleased to say that Rheumatology phoned me, with an appointment for Rheumatology next Wednesday! Well done, Patient Relations, you have achieved what my GP failed to do!

I remain deeply angry with the treatment received by my GP, and once I receive a diagnosis from Rheumatology, I will then take steps to ensure that never again will I receive such shoddy treatment from my current GP. Thank-you for all your help.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story