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If Your GP Is Treating You Poorly, It's OK to Find a New One

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I’ve recently managed to feel stable enough to relocate. So I decided to move 600 kilometers away from my home town. My safe, slow-paced and community-orientated town. As many people would know, finding a new support team to put in place can become difficult.

Originally I was visiting an Aboriginal medical clinic. I found this particular GP to be exceptional. However it came at a cost. This particular clinic does not prescribe drugs of addiction. This was not suitable for someone in my chronic pain position.

So off I went, looking for a new GP. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?! But alas, it was not meant to be. I saw a male doctor at a local GP clinic. I had a letter from my previous small town GP. He even called her to confirm our treatment plan. I thought to myself, wow, that’s thorough, he really must be a good doctor. Off I went, carried on my days until I needed my next script for daily narcotic use.

I’d like to mention here that the past six months have been my most stable months. Life was good! I was managing.

So I sit down in the office to see the doctor once more and he informs me that he is of the opinion that I do not require such medication. That my workplace shoulder injury (that had been operated on and left me with chronic pain syndrome) is actually not an injury. He then proceeded to say that he would not prescribe to me anymore.

The next few days were an emotional whirlwind for me. I started to feel as though I was weak, not worthy of his time and that if my medication was to be cut off I held grave concerns for my mental state (I have bipolar).

I told him straight out, if you cut me cold turkey I will be reporting you. It’s extremely dangerous to do that to someone. Even more dangerous when that someone has a history of self-harm and suicide attempts.

After laying in bed crying myself to sleep on the fourth night, I had an epiphany: why the hell am I allowing this doctor who has seen me as a patient for all of 10 minutes across two appointments treat me as a lesser human being? How dare he treat me as being unworthy of care? Everyone in this world deserves to have a caring and supportive doctor. Someone who listens and responds accordingly.

Fast forward a week and I see yet another GP. My anxiety was off the chart. What if it goes the same way as the last GP? All I want is access to my medication that helps me live a somewhat productive life. Sure, things could be better. But I’m happy with how I am.

From the minute I sat in the new GP’s office, I knew I had found a good one. She related to me, she told me some of her own personal history in dealing with mental health issues. She agreed with me that my medication is working ergo there is not a single reason to mess with it.

This GP journey has led me to wonder: How many other people have been treated unjustly by doctors and let it slide?

I urge anyone that has had this happen to them to keep searching. Doctors unfortunately are not all the same and rely heavily on their own personal opinions to treat us. We are all worthy of top level care and I believe if we keep searching we will find it!

Getty Image by cyano66

Originally published: April 14, 2018
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