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Rafat Saeed, who lives in west London and has had difficulties finding a GP near his home willing to take him on, responds to the research by Stokes et al
As I was reading through the study by Stokes and colleagues, I was astonished as to how familiar it all seemed, that there may be other people who have gone through the same ordeal and process as I have. I was rejected once by a general practitioner, and that could have affected my creditability in finding a GP.
My family and I have learnt that the services in the London suburbs are very limited and the people in the suburbs are very naive and not aware of their rights, unaware of how to handle situations, and kept in the dark by the authorities. It is not just the health authorities; it is also local authorities, such as the local council.
I found the study very easy to comprehend, and a lot of it is based on facts about people's encounters with GPs and the ordeal that they go through. There should not be any discrimination once a patient is real-located, but due to a lack of communication and help, discrimination takes place. There should be a medical body just like the CHC (community health council) so that patients can approach other patients who have been affected by this form of behaviour and feel distressed or victimised. These patients can help each other, which is necessary, as being removed without knowing why is very distressing and most upsetting. I have learnt that in Hounslow and similar nearby towns, the way in which health care is being run should be looked at very closely.
I would use the information from the study, which is based upon other people's experience, together with my own experience; although every case is unique, one can use the information to understand that GPs too have problems in coping with patients. As a patient, I will be able to identify when I am stepping out of line and when my GP is showing me attitude. What I have learnt is that the patient is always right and GPs abuse their power by removing someone because that is the only thing that they are able to do. But then patients have to carry the burden of being tagged as “I was removed by a GP.”
This tag is the penalty for being removed in the first instance, and it is very easy for a doctor to blacklist a patient through the Family Health Services Authority. But what channel does a patient use to blacklist a GP?
I moved to Hounslow a year ago, and have found that the council ward I live in, Hounslow Heath, has no local GP. This is appalling and shocking. We have to go quite a distance in order to see a GP and even then are told that the lists are closed.
There are three councillors for Hounslow Heath, but no GP in the area. A lot of disabled people and ill people have to take minicabs when visiting their GP, which is wrong. Someone somewhere needs to get involved and help us around here.
Competing interests: None declared.