Let down by GPs

Sorry long post

My dad is 72, has depression, anxiety, doesn’t wash or look after himself or his house and lives alone, he hasn’t left the house for the last 6months.

He was attending a lovely GPs, they knew his personality and his care requirements and he’s lived with a leg ulcers for over a year with help from them dressing it keeping am eye on it. Under new government funding they had to release him as a patient because he doesn’t live in their catchment area. This was 2 years ago. He didn’t tell us strqight away, we thought he was still going until it became quite apparent his leg was getting worse.

My dad refused to register at another GPs and has tried to dress his leg himself (he doesn’t ever wash so you can imagine how well this is going). Plus I am sure he has undiagnosed diabetes, so I got all the appropriate forms from local GP, gave them to my dad and quite to my surprise he filled them out and signed them, along with a note saying my sister and I could be privy to his medical status with Dr etc. I was really pleased.

He got a letter from GP saying he needed a routine HBA1C blood test for diabetes (as previous Drs said he was borderline, this was over 2 years ago), I use to work in lab, I know what this test is and dad really need more blood tests, (my sister and I have been telling him he needs to get leg ulcer sorted and blood test as he’s been feeling unwell for ages but won’t go.) Anyway because Drs themselves asked him to go he actually said he would go.

This is a big deal, we’ve been so upset that he won’t go we finally thought great get things sorted. I phoned Drs and explained situation, said he’s feeling ill, classic sptoms of diabetes, plus raging bad (very smelly) leg ulcer. Dr said she would add on additional tests and get nurse to book another appointment for his leg. I also explained he has very bad mobility, he literally can’t walk further than few yards.

Anyway I went to pick him up today, he’s so worse than I thought, he had mini panic attack. Couldn’t really fit in my car (he’s a big guy, plus legs don’t move much), we very nearly didn’t manage to go. To cut a very long story short he was made to go upstairs (in lift bit he really can’t walk), the Dr hadn’t added the tests on, I asked for a glucose or for nurse to check notes and she refused. She also wouldn’t book appointment for ulcer to be seen said we have to ring next day.

My dad looks so ill, plus he absolutely smells (not being horrible), his leg ulcer smells rancid and is extremely strong. He managed to get down in lift but had to stop to rest and the receptionists came out and sprayed air freshener around him! I had to stop myself from either crying or going bonkers in rage.

It took my dad 15 mins just to sit in car, mobility is so bad, the whole process was horrendous for both me and my dad.

We had a chance to get all tests done and it was missed, he’s now saying he doesn’t want to ring for appointment for his leg so ended up telling him how bad it smells and it needs attention.

My sister has rang surgery and made a complaint, she’s also asked for a home visit from a district nurse as my dad can’t take strain of traveling up. Are home visits hard to get? The clinic patient coordinator is ringing me back tomorrow to discuss.

I feel so let down. Like the GP doesn’t think people might have mental health or mobility problems.

I will have to battle for him to have home visits, plus when he finds out he will go mad and probably inotallg say he doesn’t want them around.

His house ie really bad (smelly and messy), I can tidy but he has a dog and can’t get the stink out.

What i really wanted to ask was can we insist on home visit for his leg dressing and blood test?

Anyone else have experience of caring for relatives / people like this?

He os such a lovely man but in total denial of his situation ie personal hygiene, how bad his leg ulcer is.

Many thanks, I’m so upset and worried I’m getting anxiety myself

Hi Liz,
what a truly horrible experience. I’m glad your sister complained. What a shame they missed the opportunity to get all the tests done in one go. Hopefully the doctors themselves are better than the receptionists (my Caree S has autism and related learning disability - our receptionists at our surgery have behaved in a “disablist” way towards and about him in the past.)

Yes it is possible to have home visits especially from district nurses for attending to dressings etc Others with experience of organising this, should be along later/tomorrow to give more info.

Does you Dad claim attendance allowance? Some of this could be used to pay for a cleaner etc Once he was used to this, he could also have a needs assessment for support with personal care, maybe. Needs assessment | Carers UK

It would be worth getting an OT referral for him at some point too, as the right aids and adaptions would help him manage better at home.


Hi Melly

I really appreciate your reply, thank you.

I hadn’t even thought of any of your suggestions, I will broach these with my dad. Thanks so much, on such an emotive subject its easy not to look clearly at solutions, really appreciate your help.

Take care, liz


If the situation gets any worse, I think you should call an ambulance.
The lack of self care, plus diabetes and a leg ulcer is really worrying.
I know he’ll be very annoyed, but how would you feel if you didn’t do this, with disastrous consequences?

Absolutely, I’m hopefully arranging a home visit for tomorrow; I am expecting him to be admitted to hospital because of its severity and to be honest I would be a bit relieved, then I know he is being cared for properly.

I do wonder the lengths of his stubbornness though, I’ve already had one GP say they cannot force treatment upon patients and i think he would refuse an ambulance. This is why I’m so angry that he is actually in a Dr surgery and they just sent him away