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De Real World

Last Monday I had another, pointless, interview with my GP. Frankly I'm coming very close to getting shot of him. The guy really is starting to piss me off; he doesn't listen, he doesn't understand and no matter how many times I try to explain how the benefit system works (or rather doesn't work), I'm just wasting my time. 

That he's only available in my surgery one day a week doesn't help either. This is exacerbated by many factors, conditions that Lansley's privatisation smorgasbord will only make worse. Firstly the surgery, out of necessity, is partnered with a neighbouring surgery. Consequently he's available there more than here. Patients can potentially travel to either venue and be seen, but that's no good if you have to pay exorbitant bus fares to get to the other surgery which has a far bigger patient register. This means that I have to compete for time at my surgery with him with rival patients. There is no priority system whatsoever. It's a complete mess, and, having tried to complain to the Practise Manager, one that the people in charge seem unable to comprehend.

Secondly the guy it seems is either on holiday, moving house, or having a day off. Now I have no objection to any of those things, nor with doctors getting paid a lot of money. It's a difficult job. But I don't think it's much to have them work in an organised fashion so that patients can be seen!

The upshot is that if I want to discuss issues with him I have to wait about a month to be seen at my local surgery. This is fucking ridiculous. What makes it even worse is that when you have a limited window and a doctor that is not listening, it becomes a real challenge to get your message across. They have this talent for listening only to the first point you make; if you try and explain expand upon or clarity it you get cut off. Never mind trying to get someone that understands mental health issues. It's fine if you want a pill because you've got earache; they can deal with that. Anything deeper and intangible and the system fails.

So on the last appointment we go round and round again. This is the first time I've seen him since starting (and in a way finishing) on the WP. I explain to him that even the adviser there says I'd be better off on ESA. I make him aware that the adviser expects people that have mental health problems to have an adviser in attendance as well (even I know that's a ridiculous expectation to have of everyone). But he just doesn't get it. Again the programming kicks in as I try to explain that in order get onto ESA: you will have to write a sick note. Nope, sick notes  = a life on benefits = the antithesis of support. The stupid part of it is that he broadly supports being on ESA because of how it's supposed to work in respect to supporting people appropriately (of course the reality is another matter entirely). But he absolutely will not write a sick note and even seemed to think I could just self certify. The whole thing went round in circles and my head started to spin. The only concession came from him suggesting he might write to the JC+ in respect of my signing arrangements: as I'm now on the WP my signing times/adviser seem entirely random. This is not what the Work Psychologist promised both my GP and I would happen. 

I suffer from something called derealisation, had it diagnosed years ago, ironically even ATOS had heard of it (didn't make a difference). It means that at times, usually stressful/busy/hectic times I tend to 'phase out' - things start becoming unreal, like a mini fugue state. It's extremely disorienting. It makes being in busy places like, say, the JC+ on an understaffed Friday morning, difficult. When I had my regular adviser appointments, prior to going on the WP, this was circumvented because I had a fixed appointment and could be seen by the same person; I didn't have to sit in the lobby with the great unwashed (:D) and wait my turn in the dole lottery. 

I find that difficult, and recently my derealisation has been playing up (early on it was regarded as agoraphobia until a stony faced counsellor explained to me the cure for such was to be bundled into the centre of town in the boot of a car and left to find my own way home) so this morning I went to chase up the letter, to see what had been written (and to judge thus what the response from the JC might be, i doubt it would change anything). It is awaiting being typed which might happen tomorrow, but then the dear old doctor still has to sign the letter and guess what, tomorrow's his day off. I sign on again on Friday morning, I was rather hoping that might be done. Slowly the wheels to turn.


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