Now Reading
How to Bounce Back After a Disappointing Doctor’s Appointment

How to Bounce Back After a Disappointing Doctor’s Appointment

Shortly after my first laparoscopy, my symptoms came back rapidly and much worse than before. I was taking pain relievers constantly, but I was still in tears when I got home from work. Because my husband and I had moved, I was no longer under the care of the gynecologist who diagnosed me with Endometriosis, so I felt a bit lost.

Fortunately, I managed to register with a superb general practitioner (GP) and my regular doctor was brilliant at helping me manage the pain. After having numerous appointments and telephone consultations about how my pain and symptoms were so bad, they referred me to my local hospital for a second gynecology opinion. Whilst this was relieving (especially as I didn’t even have to ask for the referral), there was quite a wait to see a consultant and I was left counting down the days.

One day (while I was at work), the pain suddenly got unbelievably intense. My usual pain relievers weren’t even putting a dent in the pain I was in, and neither was the heating pad. I felt sick and faint – thankfully I was allowed to leave early. I phoned my GP in the hopes of making an appointment because I knew something wasn’t right.

She told me that she wanted to refer me to the emergency gynecology clinic which was held once a week, but patients could only be referred on the day it ran. Luckily, that was the next day, but she wasn’t in, so she booked me an appointment with her colleague so that they could refer me. I was told the clinic was for patients with acute and severe gynecology symptoms, and that her colleague would see me, examine me, and telephone the emergency clinic. I was also told I would be given an appointment that day.

But things didn’t go as planned.

The GP I ended up seeing was rude and unsympathetic. I was repeatedly told that I “Should be lucky it isn’t cancer; other people have it a lot worse.”

They didn’t even believe I had a diagnosis of Endometriosis, and when I pointed out my surgical discharge letter that proved the extent of my disease, they dismissed it. I broke down in tears as I tried to explain what was going on, and as I began to tell them about my phone consultation the previous day and the plan to be referred to the emergency gynecology clinic, I was stopped before I’d finished – “You are not an emergency; the pain is not as bad as you say.” I was absolutely gobsmacked.

For a split second, I sat there and just accepted it – I was stuck living a miserable, painful life and no one could help me. But then, something inside of me snapped – everything just came out of my mouth and I told them exactly how this was severely affecting my life and ability to work. I told them that I understood things could be worse, but that this is what I am dealing with and I need help.

I didn’t let anyone interrupt me.

The GP reluctantly agreed to examine me; pressing all over my abdomen and pelvis, which caused me to squirm in pain. As I expected, the internal examination was painful. I was told that the GP “Didn’t feel any Endometriosis,” so they were “Sure it wasn’t Endo that was causing the pain.” Feeling defeated and deflated, I asked one more time about the emergency clinic. I received a few sighs, but to my amazement, they picked up the phone – “I’ll ring, but I’m telling you now, you are not an emergency and I will be telling them that. Go and wait in the waiting room.”

I sat in the waiting room with tears rolling down my face. I felt like I had been put down so much that anything I was currently experiencing was not significant or in fact real.

But I wasn’t going mad, I knew I wasn’t.

After a long wait, I was called back in. The GP looked unhappy as they explained a consultant would be ringing me to see me in the clinic. They felt compelled to reiterate to me that it “wasn’t an emergency so I wouldn’t be in the emergency clinic.” I had a tiny glimmer of hope as I headed home to wait for the phone call.

As it turns out, even though it was the worst appointment I think I’ve ever been to, it led to an amazing outcome. The consultant that rang me was an Endometriosis specialist for not just the hospital, but for the whole of the region. He had spoken to the GP (who he himself thought was rather unpleasant) and when I told him what had happened, he couldn’t believe it. He told me he wanted to see me in two days time – he said he wanted me to see someone with experience.

When I saw him, I couldn’t have been more impressed. My husband and I were thrilled with him and I was booked in for my next surgery. I stayed under his care for two years until he left and it was the best gynecology experience I had ever had.

I know I won’t be the only one who has had really negative experiences with GPs or even consultants, and after that GP consultation, it took me a while to trust anyone again. I never did complain (partly because I felt it would have been my word against theirs, and partly because I was still going to have to go to that GP practice for a long time and didn’t want a “black dot” against my name), but I haven’t seen that GP since. It is incredibly unfortunate that my experience is common amongst those of us fighting for better health, so below I’ve listed some tips about how to manage – and how to bounce back from – those encounters.

Find a GP you’re comfortable with.

GP practices in the UK automatically register you with a “named GP” – this is the GP you should primarily see. However, whilst this is an automatic process, you can change your primary GP by asking the receptionist. You can even ask your surgeon which GP is a specialist or has an interest in your conditions. For example, most GP practices will have a dedicated GP for sexual health, family planning, and mental health. If you have an appointment and you’re not comfortable with whom you are seeing or you are unhappy with the way you have been treated, as well as the right to change doctor, you have a right to complain. If it is a matter of the GP practice being the problem, there is a chance you are able to switch GP practices. However, most GP practices in the UK have set areas of registered patients, so you will need to check this.

Raise your voice!

If you’re in the middle of an appointment and you’re being ignored, don’t be afraid to speak up and make it clear what you’re expecting. This might require bravery, but sometimes you have to push yourself to be heard. You can always take someone you trust with you to the appointment so they can help fight your corner, too.

Avoid the problem.

If there is a particular GP, consultant, or healthcare practitioner who makes you feel invalidated with your symptoms or has been rude to you in the past, make sure you don’t have any other appointments with them. You don’t have to explain the reasons why if you are ever asked.


I know complaining isn’t something we like doing, but sometimes putting in a formal complaint or concern about a negative experience can work for the better. Not only does the problem get addressed, but it should (hopefully) be improved upon and managed to avoid it from happening again, and you never know – you may even get a formal apology!

Talk to someone.

If you are feeling really down and upset about how an appointment went, then make sure you talk to someone. After some of my appointments, I’ve felt really down about myself and have been made to feel like I was going crazy. It’s important that these feelings are discussed to prevent further health problems. Having someone to talk to about the bad experience can help you see what you need to do next or even see it from a different angle.

A negative encounter shouldn’t put you off seeking further help, and if it is, then I hope this article helps.

What's Your Reaction?
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll To Top