If you missed the first part of this blogpost, you can catch it over here – The one about specialists

The Doctor

Growing up, we had a family doctor. I wouldn’t say we loved him. In fact, I know that my father didn’t like him at all and never trusted his opinion…actually…love may be a seriously strong word! I think that we only used to see him because he was so close to home. As younger kids, my mum had the trusted GP who we regularly visited and who she really loved! Even to this day, you’ll hear her saying that Dr Robertson used to tell them this and that or always suggested whatever that always worked. I think we only stopped going to him because he was further away from home…I may be wrong about the reason we stopped going there, but one thing is for sure, my mother trusted him with her whole family and never doubted him for one second! Moving to Cape Town to study, I found a really good doctor too. Dr C even became my baby sister’s doctor some 10years later when she went to study in Cape Town and he was just as good. But then I moved to Jo’burg!…

When we first moved here, we lived in Pineslopes. As I knew nobody who lived in the area and who could recommend a doctor, I just called our medical aid and found a doctor who was “contracted in” to the medical aid and upon visiting her, I found her quite okay. Close to home was key because we all know what traffic in the Fourways area is like!! In fact, one day, I even walked to see her as the hubster was at work (we shared a car for the first year in Jo’burg…have you ever?!) and I was desperately ill and needed to see her. She really was lovely BUT she looked about 20! Now where I know she would have indeed been older than that as there is no way she could be a practising GP at that age unless she’s Doogie Howser, she certainly carried herself like a 20year old. She was hip and funky but not in a – yay, my GP is young and happening – kind of way but more like…she looks like my baby sister, is she a capable GP kind of way (no offense Andy if you’re reading 😉 )??? She often asked me how many days I needed her to book me off for…a serious plus as far as the hubster was concerned and trust me, he milked it…but in my mind, um, you’re the doctor, YOU tell ME how long I need to be off, not the other way around.

At any rate, we moved suburbs and then per chance, I came across a medical centre while driving to church one morning. The next time I was sick, I called and found out that they in fact had a large group of doctors working out of the practise which appealed to me even more. I thought I struck it lucky when I met Dr E, even recommending him to my cousin, until he left the practise 😦 Let me just say that these doctors are not contracted in but are the closest group of doctors to home who I feel are good at what they do. I won’t even talk about the doctor in Buccleuch and the one in Woodmead who are both contracted in but don’t give me one iota of confidence in the medical field!

So…because the practise in Gallo Manor has so many doctors, I like to use them especially for the kids. The main reason for this is because I am almost guaranteed an appointment first thing in the morning if needs be. 9 times out of 10, one of the doctors is available immediately whereas if you’re just calling one doctor, the chances of getting an early appointment the same day are like zero to none. By the way, Dr E, my “favourite” actually works from his own practise one building away from work and is now contracted IN to medical aid. The downfall about him being in Sandton though (other than the fact that I can never get an early appointment on the same day) is that I have to trek all the way through Sandton traffic with the kids in tow if they’re sick! Not ideal. Gallo Manor is half the distance and the route to the practise has less than half the traffic too!!  So, when we’re sick, we generally go to the practise. I’ve found 3 doctors there who are good with the kids, so I first ask for one of them and if that fails, I go with whoever else is first available.

My problem with doctors in general though is that I really do feel like it’s trial and error. I’ve seriously been to doctors who open up textbooks to check something. That gets me feeling rather uncomfortable. I mean, surely you studied long enough to know these things or to at least have some idea?!?! I can understand opening a textbook to check the dosage of medication if you’re unsure but to try and diagnose me?! I mean, surely I could have done that myself if I just buy the same textbook, arrgggghhhhh???? And then the audacity to charge me THE.SAME.AMOUNT for a follow up appointment. All the doctors I’ve heard of from my friends (and my nanny even concurred on this) would charge some sort of reduced rate but nooooo, not at this practise. I took Riley a few weeks ago and the doctor prescribed a natural nose sprays and natural eardrops due to his age. Less than a week later, I felt like he was getting worse. I called the doctor for an appointment for myself and took him with me. While I was there, I mentioned that this was a “follow up” visit for him, that he wasn’t improving since our last visit and that I was getting worried. So she examined him…okay, granted it was a full examination BUT the reason we were BACK was because the medication that she first suggested didn’t work. Now, all she had to do was – by trial and error (unfortunately, he’s a leetle too young for Augmentin…you know that one that they always.give.for.everything!!!) – recommend something else!

I got to the accounts department and they billed me for a full visit for the both.of.us. Where I didn’t expect to pay nothing for him, I at least expected a lesser rate. Nooooo, full price! Is that not a ripoff. And she didn’t even blink when she gave me the bill and I queried it! To make matters worse, that didn’t make him 100% better either. I feel like I should ask for a refund. Think about it…if you buy a product off the shelf that needs to do XYZ, the consumer act allows you to return the item and get a refund if you don’t get XYZ right?! In fact, if I’m not mistaken, you can ask for a refund even if it gives you ABC but you’re not so keen on it right?? So why can’t the doctor refund me for the first visit seeing as her diagnosis and treatment didn’t work and then we can pay for the second visit accordingly. Ideal? No?! Come on…a discount surely? I really feel that these GPs are robbing me blindly.

To be continued…

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5 responses »

  1. Mrs FF says:

    This is one of the reasons I’m glad I live in Pretoria! The Drs are relatively cheaper. I only use Drs around sandton because of work! Our pead usually doesn’t charge for follow up appointments.

    I have mixed feelings about medical centers with many Drs- I like the idea of being able to always get appointments but battle with the Drs not knowing my medical history! Though the medical center around our house actually encourages us to choose a dr

    Ps: growing up we also went to one dr for many many years and only moved when my dad changed jobs and his new office required him to use a different hospital

  2. Jodie says:

    Mrs FF – all these adult things to worry about! I wish I lived with my mum and dad and still visited the family doctor…would make life soooo much easier 🙂

  3. debraaukett says:

    I very often feel the same way!

  4. […] If you missed the first two parts of this blogpost, you can catch them over here – Part 1 and Part 2. […]

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