Are our NHS GPs failing us?

When we or our children are diagnosed with Eczema, it can almost seem like an isolated experience. When you feel that uncontrollable urge to itch and non-eczema sufferers do not seem to get why you can’t “just stop”. It can also be a depressing experience not only for aesthetic reasons and your self esteem but that feeling that you have no control (many times I have woken up and found I’ve already scratched myself to death in my sleep); there is also a distinct sense of self harm to it.

At times in this isolated desperation we search the internet for that quick fix, or confide in other sufferers for the latest “this really helps” treatment, which cannot always be relied on. What we do rely on however, is that if it all gets too much and our latest moisturiser gets too sore to bear, we can always see our local GP courtesy of the NHS to get the best possible help…right? When I’m asked on forms “who is your GP?” I never have an answer, why you ask? Because I am still yet to find one GP who quite understands my condition as well as they should or seem to care for that matter.

This year I have found that my eczema has been a lot worse than usual, what I would usually define as mild eczema (apart from when I eat wheat) turned into severe and constant bouts that I could not control. My usual treatments being rendered useless and blaming it on exhaustion I stopped my usual workout routine and keeping my existence as easily as possible. Soon I developed what was diagnosed as a viral rash, which was given steroid ointments for, which became large, painful spots/lumps on my legs. Again steroid ointment for me and now some blood tests.

After no conclusions apart from my blood showing signs of inflammatories, the various GPs that I saw the rash/spot/lumps had gone so therefore, I was ok. “What about my skin now?” pointing out how eczema is consuming my body, the response “you have eczema though, don’t you?”. Yes I do realise what my condition has already been diagnosed but should that really be a label no matter what the changers in severity are?

After yet another trip to the doctors and the doctor not saying a word a word to me after my complaint before I requested to get referred. Luckily for me my work place supply private health insurance so was referred to a private dermatologist. Going private managed to unearth that I have developed an infection and because no treatment was given an endless cycle was occurring. Also, I had a lot more allergies than I was originally aware (NHS will only test you for 5 things and you really have to fight for that as I found out years previous).

Now I am not a medical expert, but I would have thought just a simple infection was easy to spot, all it took was a week’s worth of antibiotics to get me back to my usual self. It is hard to tell what is simply “an easy mistake” made, or the fact that as soon as someone is diagnosed with eczema it does not matter how much we try and protest that our condition is worsening….it’s just seen as eczema plain and simple.

Now I understand that our GPs are not experts of skin conditions so we cannot expect them to know everything, but surely they must understand how stressful and exhausting it is for us to just get a little help, a simple referral would do. I do also feel angered about this eczema diagnosis being an answer for all when there could be underlying problems, I do feel that some GPs should have trust in patients to be able to identify when something is different. I had to suffer for over 3 months before I got as far as going private, only now I’m beginning to get the treatment I needed months ago.

My diagnosis? If you do not feel you are getting the treatment you feel you or your child deserve, ask to be referred.

Webmasters Note: This is so similar to what I went through 14 years ago with our eldest daughter! Is there anyone else out there that has had the same / similar referral difficulty. Let me know what it was like for you getting a referral. Good or Bad but honest. You can contact me via the Contact Us button at the top of the page.Thank you.

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