A  76  year old  friend of mine , a retired  highly skilled  town surveyor, went to see  his  GP for back pain. The doctor  gave him a cursory  brief examination and prescribed some simple pain killers. No  follow-up was arranged.


3 weeks alter , when his symptoms did not subside and were getting  worse,  he went back to see him again ; this time he was away and there was a 'locum'!  This  'new' doctor didn't even touch him , had a look at  him and said ''well what do you expect at your age? such things always happen to old people and you will have to put up with it''.  He politely asked whether he should have an x ray  for a diagnosis  or be  referred for some physiotherapy, the response was very negative --'' hospitals do not have so much time to investigate  all old people like you  and  physio services are overstretched - i don't think they will see you soon , might take weeks or even  months!!''  Very disappopinted the gentleman left the surgery and continued to suffer silently !!!


My question is  -is it typical of every GP ? I sincerely hope  , not !  But why should even a single doctor  harbour such attitude towards old age and older people?  If  reported to his authorities and  the medical council , he will definitely be reprimanded.  The 'systems' and 'sanctions' do exist but it doesn't change everyone.  Like  the airlines, medical practice must be a 'zero- tolerance' enterprise - not a single 'poor practice' must exist.  I wonder how many other similar  polite older citizens are treated so shabbily by the profession. In this context , one must bear in mind that non-provision of evidence- based service also amounts to poor practice and  'negligence' by the state !!!


Do  keep your ears and eyes open and make every effort to stop such abusuve behaviour to older people