Why is a GP’s ‘heartbreak’ an example of how not to get a GP?
Posted November 21, 2018 06:09:51A GP has gone public with her frustration with how people treat her during the waiting period for a referral.
Key points:A Queensland GP says she is a “hero” and a “good example” to othersThe Australian Medical Association says it wants to see “a better, more compassionate way” of treating referral stressMs Derryn Payne says she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes pain and anxiety, in 2014.
“I felt so alone,” she said.
“It was like my heart had broken and I had nowhere to go.”
It’s a situation that has forced her to use social media to vent and share her experiences with other people.
Ms Payne said her own family had also experienced similar situations.
“My dad was in a car crash and I was in hospital and I lost my dad and my sister,” she told 7.30.
“So my mum just lost her job and she was trying to find work to support her family.”
Ms Payne has since become a social media celebrity, and her posts have been shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook.
“A lot of my friends are on Facebook, they see my posts and they tell their friends to check me out,” she explained.
“When I’m out of work I get the support of my family and friends.”
Ms Duryn Payne said she’s not alone in her frustrations.
“People who don’t get referral stress, that’s just not fair,” she added.
“If they have to wait longer than 24 hours to get in then they can’t be referred, that just is not right.”
The only people who are being unfairly treated is the people who do get referrals.
“We all get referrals but we are treated differently.
We are all treated equally.”
What to do if you’re experiencing referral stressYou should contact your GP if you feel you are experiencing referral pain, or if you think you may have a referral stress problem.
There are three main ways to manage referral stress:Talking to a GP about it.
Talking to your local community.
Getting a referral from a health professional.
If you feel your GP is ignoring your concerns, it might be worth contacting them.
“This is the only way to get an accurate and impartial assessment,” said Dr Michelle Anderson, a GP in Queensland.
“You’re talking to the GP who is in charge of your case, so they have a very good understanding of what is going on and are trying to understand your situation and what you need.”
Dr Anderson said it is important to be honest and to let them know if you have concerns about a referral process.
“They have to get your permission first to get the information about what your needs are,” she says.
“And you have to tell them that, otherwise they’ll be taking the information out of the system and we’re just not getting it.”
In her case, the GP had referred her to a health worker in Brisbane.
“She explained to me that if I had an appointment she would be there and she’d be available,” Ms Payne said.
After speaking to the worker, Ms Payne had an initial appointment with a referral specialist.
“He basically took the information from me, took it out of my system and gave it to someone else,” she continued.
“Which was the referral specialist.”
When she got her appointment the following day, the specialist told her she was a “victim of referral stress” and told her not to worry.
“There was no one else there to help me.
So I just went home,” she recalled.”
That was my first time having that type of intervention.”
She was eventually referred to a social worker, who took her to see a GP again, and again she was referred to another referral specialist, who referred her back to the same referral specialist in Brisbane, who ultimately recommended she have a repeat referral appointment with another referral professional.
Ms Deryn Payne’s experience is not uncommon, and is a reflection of a growing trend in Australia where referrals are being rushed through the system.
“One of the big reasons is that they are being so quick and easy, there’s no time to actually go through a referral, which is really a shame,” Dr Anderson said.
The AMA says it supports the development of a “more compassionate” approach to referrals.
The AMA says it is working to increase transparency in referral services, and to provide a more compassionate and open-minded approach to the process.
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