I recently responded to a questionnaire about psoriasis which looked at not just the treatments and how it affects your life but at the health professionals that advise and help you. It did get me thinking about this aspect and I thought that really there are only two people who have been there more or less from the start, my GP and the Sister at the dermatology department. These are the only two people I have seen on a regular basis during the ten years of having psoriasis, they are the only people that probably understand how it affects me, well as far as medical staff go.
I do think in this country we are lucky that we have the NHS. I know people complain about it but considering the cost of some of this treatment I have had over the years, prescription charges are a fraction of that and I get to see qualified staff for free. My GP surgery is very good and I generally get an appointment the same day. Yes there is a wait for referral to a consultant but last time that was 6 weeks.
Then we come back to the fact that I know 2 people by name. Only 2 out of all of those people I have seen during my time with psoriasis. I think this is one of the biggest failures in treating the condition. Most people understand now that there is a psychological side to the condition as many suffers lack self confidence, endure sleepless nights and sometimes bullying. I think a key part of treatment should be getting to know the patient and understanding how this condition affects their daily life.
I think I have seen up to 6 different consultants and only one of those did I feel had really read my file, yet he the last consultant I saw. He didn’t know me, he hadn’t been through the journey with me, hadn’t seen me at my lowest ebb and certainly hadn’t seen the very worst of my condition. I thought, how does he really know what this is doing to me. As far as he could tell, my skin didn’t look too bad. I think maybe they should take photos from the start, keep a record of how things are improving. To be honest, those little body outlines with a few pen marks on to show where you have psoriasis don’t really show how severe it is. They don’t show how my skin was cracking & bleeding and that I scratched myself in my sleep until I bled.
I want to make it clear that I am not blaming specific people for what seems like a lack of understanding, I am ever grateful for their help. I know that without them I wouldn’t be able to cope with the condition. I just often feel they are only looking at treating the condition rather than the person so I do think the system needs to be reviewed. There should be someone to help you through it, I guess almost like a counsellor, someone who gets to know you and understands not just what your skin looks like but what this is doing to you mentally.
So if anyone from the NHS or other medical staff read this, I thank you for all the treatment, I thank you for helping me and I hope you take this as a positive criticism.