Monday 10 September 2012

Slightly Reassured, but...

After last week's bombshell over my painkiller prescription, I arranged an appointment with my GP for this morning. That turned out to be with the junior doctor in the practice, the one who recommended a month ago I actually increase my dosage, not cut it entirely.

Fortunately I got some sense out of her, though I'm still not entirely happy with what's going on. Apparently one of the higher-level agencies involved with prescribing has done some data-mining and decided there is too much Butrans being prescribed in Medway (it doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone this might have something to do with Medway being a former industrial centre, which is likely to have a higher than average concentration of people with ongoing chronic pain as a result of industrial injuries) , but rather than calling patients in for an individual review, my GP just decided to have a blanket change of prescriptions.

The junior GP did admit that some people will need to remain on Butrans after the process (and implied that GPs will need to individually defend any such decisions), but in the meantime we're being asked to jump through hoops not for individual medical reasons, but for some statistical anomaly. Given a doctor willing to work with me, I've actually managed to turn this to my advantage, we've agreed to try switching Butrans for Gabapentin, which is a pain-control drug I've wanted to try for a while. But equally I've had friends experience some quite frightening side-effects on gabapentin, so it's not a move to be made lightly and I may end up in a month's time back in the doctor's office, arguing that I'm one of the patients who do need to remain on Butrans. Sigh.

As an additional bonus, in flicking through my notes the junior GP noticed that there had been no follow-up from the nerve conduction testing my orthopaedic consultant arranged last year and chased it up on the spot - only to find no one answering the phone <rolls eyes>, I've left that one in her hands to see if she can get a response as to what they found - this was the test that ended with the consultant turning to me and saying 'Well, something's clearly not right', which isn't the most precise diagnosis I've ever had, nor particularly reassuring.

The NHS, can't live without it, can't live with it!

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