Rowan has seen the GP for a number of illnesses. This includes pneumonia and severe stomach pains that led to a diagnosis of lactose intolerance. This is when the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products.
Rowan has had a few illnesses that he had to see a GP (local doctor) about and occasionally had to go to hospital for. At the age of 11 he went to see his GP who told him he had the winter flu and that it’ll go away’. When the symptoms persisted, though, he eventually ended up going to A&E (Accident and Emergency) and was diagnosed with pneumonia.
At the age of 13 Rowan started having severe stomach pains and saw a number of GPs about these. He recalls that he must have seen around 10 different doctors, few of whom came up with the same diagnosis. Some of these GPs suggested he should go to A&E so that he could get a quicker referral to see a gastroenterologist (a specialist doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases affecting the stomach and intestines). The GPs were unsure what was causing the pain.
One of Rowan’s GPs phoned the hospital that he was admitted to through A&E to try and follow up on his case. Rowan didn’t hear anything from the hospital about his gastroenterology appointment, so he went back to see a GP. He was advised to go back to A&E again, but this time to a larger hospital as a way of playing the system’ and getting seen quicker. Rowan made sure he kept a print out of all his notes from every consultation to avoid having the same tests and treatments. Six months after he first saw a GP about stomach pain, he was diagnosed as being lactose intolerant. This is when the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products.
To get a same-day appointment at Rowan’s local surgery, patients need to phone up at 8.30am. Rowan usually dials himself and then passes the phone to his mum or dad, although he has also made appointments himself. As lines tend to get very busy at these times, he has to phone again and again until someone answers. He usually goes to the appointments with his mum or dad.
Rowan feels that doctors surgeries would run more efficiently if patients could see a GP with expertise in the problem that the patient wants to discuss. He suggests that being seen by the same GP rather than a different one about the same issue would be helpful, although he also sees the value in getting a second opinion.
Rowan would like it if his local surgery offered telephone consultations or a live-chat option for people with minor health problems. He finds it frustrating that the waiting room at the local surgery has WIFI connection but patients find it impossible to access.
For Rowan a good GP is someone who expects the unexpected’ by making sure they are thorough in their medical examination, covering every eventuality and taking the time to explain their decisions in plain English. He also thinks that doctors should be approachable and experienced, and usually finds that younger GPs are more approachable while older ones are more experienced.
Rowan believes that receptionists should be welcoming as they are the first person a patient sees at their local surgery and they have the potential to influence someone’s entire experience. Rowan’s message to all health professionals is that a smile costs nothing but means absolutely everything’.
Rowan advises young people to get involved in youth organisations that are active in making health services more youth-friendly. He would also like young people to know that there is no such a thing as a stupid question’ and that it’s better to speak to someone than worry about it. He feels that young people should be taught how to help each other, and that there should be more awareness of their right to see a GP alone and have access to their medical records.