GPs - What to expect from your doctor - Problems
What should I do if I have any problems?
If you have problems with your GP you could try the following options:
Change your GP
Ask at reception or look online to see if there is another GP with an interest or background in mental health. You could arrange follow up appointments with them instead.
You might be able to change your GP surgery. You can usually only join surgeries if they cover the area you live in. You do not need to tell them why you want to change.
Ask for more support
GP surgeries have to be flexible to help people with mental illness use their service. You could ask for changes in the way they support you. This is called making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010.
You could ask for the following:
- To book your appointment later in the day or the previous day. Some surgeries only offer same-day appointments. You usually have to phone early in the morning. You may not be able to get up early enough if you are on certain medication.
- Appointment reminders if you think you might forget your appointment because of your condition. The surgery could send you a text or give you an appointment card.
- Ask to wait in a different waiting area. It is reasonable to ask for this if you find it difficult to wait for your appointment with other patients.
- Ask for a longer appointment.
You can find more information about reasonable adjustments and Discrimination and Mental Illness here.
Use community advocacy
A community advocate could help you to ask for reasonable adjustments at your GP surgery. Or help you to speak to your GP about your treatment or care. An advocate is usually free and independent from health services. They help to make your voice heard.
Community advocacy services are not available in all areas. You can search online for a local service or ask the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service to search for you. You can call us on 0300 5000 927.
Contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
You can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) if you feel unhappy with how your care is being handled. PALS can try to sort out any problems or questions you have. Your GP surgery should be able to give you their details. Or you can look online using the website in the ‘useful contacts’ section here.
Make a complaint
You can complain if you are not happy with your GP or the surgery. You should make a complaint directly to your GP surgery first. You may be able to get an apology or get the treatment that you would like if you complain.
Make a complaint to the GMC
You can complain to the General Medical Council (GMC) you think your GP needs to be investigated. All doctors have to be registered with the GMC.
The GMC may investigate your doctor for the following reasons:
- Serious or repeated mistakes in your care. Such as mistakes in your diagnosis or they have given you drugs in a dangerous way.
- Not examining you properly or not looking after your needs.
- Doesn’t understand the English language well enough to understand patients.
- Abuse of their position. Such as an improper sexual or emotional relationship with you.
- Discrimination against you.
- Serious breach of your confidentiality.
The GMC may stop your doctor from practicing. Or may reduce what your doctor is able to do.
The GMC will not be able to get you an apology. Or get you the treatment that you would like.
The GMC details are in the ‘Useful contacts’ section here.
You can find more information about ‘Complaints’ here.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays