"Abandoned by GP when I became too sick to leave home"

About: GPs in the Canberra Electoral District

(as the patient),

I have a progressive neuro-immune disease. My GP, told me that he'd be able to come and see me at home when I became too sick to come to the practice. (I'd been a patient of these GPs for more than 20 years).

When I was too sick to leave the house, I rang and asked for an appointment. The receptionist told me he didn't do home visits. I left a message for the GP as this was different from what he'd told me. I was told again that he would write me another script for the medication he'd been prescribing but he wouldn't come and see me and if I was worse then I should go to hospital.

Hospital wouldn't be able to do anything for me. There is no cure or recognised treatment for my illness and no specialists in Canberra.  Going to hospital would just hasten a worsening in my condition and be a risk because I am immune-compromised.

My family members and I spoke to the practice manager to try and negotiate health care for me. They tried to refer me to the geriatric service (I'm in my 30s) but the service said they couldn't see me because of my age. The practice then said they couldn't help me. I received advice from the Health Care Commissioner that this is in breach of the law, as they must refer me to appropriate care if they can't treat me. They failed to do this, despite me working really hard to get the practice manager and GP to fulfill this.

I rang all the practices in my area and many outside it, looking for a GP to provide care. None did home visits for new patients. I rang many health care organisations and government departments looking for help, without success.

After months, the hospital was able to find me a GP who could see me at home.

Unfortunately my old GP delayed the transfer of patient records, despite me ringing every day. The GP didn't transfer prescribing authority for the pain medication and then went on holiday. My new GP's office did their best, ringing the Chief Health Officer, trying to get permission to prescribe medication which is the difference between being in severe pain all day and only able to walk across the hallway to the toilet and being in moderate pain and being able to walk a few steps more to the kitchen to get water and food.

It took more chasing every day and my husband taking time off work on two days to go to the old GPs office to get the paperwork done.

This is an appalling way to treat a very sick patient, who relied on you for help, trusted you when you said you could do home visits when the disease progressed.

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