What the Doctor Ordered – Challenging a Decision

15 Jun

If you are under the care of a Consultant, faced with a choice of treatment options, you should be able to question any decision regarding your care if you feel that there may be a better treatment available.  Although your Consultant may be of the opinion that they know best, it is your health and your opinion should be taken into consideration……

This is precisely what has happened to me whilst under the care of a Consultant Psychiatrist.  I felt that I was not making any progress and my health is deteriorating.  My doctors are aware that this is the case.  As no action was being taken I decided to do some research into the options available……

I began with the National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines.  They had been followed to some degree but with many of the recommendations omitted.  Then I checked the guidelines of the agency treating me.  They were not dissimilar to the NICE guidelines; again they had not been followed.  I contacted the National Treatment Agency and theInstituteofPsychiatryat King’s College,London.  They confirmed what I had found in my initial research and also provided me with what they considered to be best practice.

What I concluded is that I was stuck in a loop.  A loop which appears to be more centred on ticking boxes and obtaining funding.  The treatment outcomes, health and wellbeing of their patients appeared to be of little consequence.

I also found the advice issued to healthcare professionals by the British Medical Association’s Ethics Department entitled “The impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on medical decision making”.  Of particular interest was the advice regarding Article 10 which states:

“In the past doctors have been advised, by Health Authorities, not to inform patients that there is a course of treatment that could be beneficial for them because the treatment is not available on the NHS. Patients could challenge such instructions under Article 10 which gives them the right to receive information without unjustified interference by a public authority. If treatment cannot be funded by the NHS, patients should have access to information about the factors leading to the rationing decision and it should be made clear whether the treatment is unavailable because it is unproven or solely on the grounds of cost”.

Due to the fact that I had found advice regarding secondary intervention about which I had not been told I felt this was appropriate.

Armed with the information I had compiled I met with the Consultant to explore my treatment options.  I felt that he gave me plenty of “good reasons” not to take any of the suggested treatment options but did not propose any new interventions and the status quo continues, as does the deterioration in my health.

What does seem to have changed is the attitude of my Consultant, who is applying sanctions to the way in which my medication is dispensed.  I now have to make an 8 mile round trip to the pharmacy, every day.  This is not only inconvenient, it is also very expensive……

This is my reward for trying to regain my health……


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