"Sleep apnoea and gallbladder problems"
About: Frimley Park Hospital (Frimley) Frimley Park Hospital (Frimley) Frimley GU16 7UJ Royal Surrey County Hospital / Gastroenterology Royal Surrey County Hospital Gastroenterology GU2 7XX Surrey PCT Surrey PCT Chertsey KT22 9AE
Posted by Luna (as ),
I have been a patient at my practice for several years now and have had reason to see a GP on various occasions. They're quite good at referrals, but not unless I've provided my own diagnosis.
It took them years to get to the root cause of my exhaustion. They kept telling me it was a virus and there was nothing they could do about it. It wasn't until I told them I thought I had sleep apnoea that they sent me for the relevant tests. I now have a CPAP machine which has changed my life.
At Frimley Partk hospital, where I am treated for the apnoea, they tell me that one potential cause of sleep apnoea is being overweight, which I am (slightly), although I don't have the sort of neck measurements that are typical for sleep apnoea sufferers.
I am told that if I lose weight and still suffer from sleep apnoea, they will look into other causes, but no one has offered me help to try and lose weight - a diet sheet perhaps, a gym membership, a prescription to walk 5 miles a day, a pedometer? This seems to be so typical of the NHS - spending thousands of £££ treating symptoms, but do nothing to treat the actual cause.
I have made several visits to A&E in the small hours of the morning after suffering excruciating pain for days. There they have given me a Voltaren injection and sent me on my way. I have always thought I was suffering from IBS, but the pain is always in exactly the same place, and from what I have read, could be gallbladder related. So I went to see a GP again. I told them that I would like some tests as I cannot go on suffering pain every few weeks.
Since they are so good at referrals, I had an ultrasound scan and blood tests done. Great, but useless when done during the periods I am pain free and in good health. The best time for a scan is when I am in pain and they can actually see what is going on - whether it is gallstones or IBS.
After yet another bout that had me in pain for 3 days, I went to the GP again. He asked barely very few questions, and certainly none that I felt were relevant to any diagnosis, and when he examined me, felt only the area of the abdomen around my gallbladder. Any doctor worth his salt would at least have felt the rest of the stomach and bowel.
He made me pee on a stick so that he could rule out kidney problems, which was something, although knowing where the kidneys are in relation to the gallbladder, it was a pointless test. He didn't even examine my kidneys and only took my temperature as an afterthought and then conceded to refer me to a gastroenterologist and wrote me a prescription for pain medication only at my request. No questions on my diet, my bowel habits, my lifestyle. Nothing about my medical history.
Whilst I don't expect a GP to know everything, I do expect them to have good diagnostic skills and be able to carry out a thorough examination. Also. knowing how long one waits for a referral appointment, a little interim patient care wouldn't go amiss. Ensuring that I am pain free for the short term, offering me advice on a gallbladder diet or an IBS diet in the event that it is either of these conditions I suffer from. Recommending I lose weight and giving me advice on how to do so - something, anything!
I think the GPs at my surgery put additional pressure on the specialists and A&E with their poor diagnostic skills, and lack of patient care.