Just though i'd share my experiences of this morning's little trip to the doctor's. I have had a dodgy knee for a while now, whenever I put pressure on it it hurts very slightly right on the front of the knee-cap, I wouldn't really call it pain so much as a twinge, so can live with it comfortably, but wouldn't mind getting it sorted as some days its worse than others and borders on pain. My mum highly recommended the physiotherapist she went to for a back problem so highly that since then my bro and dad have also gone to him, so I thought i'd give him a try aswell. I thought I might even be able to claim it back off westfield, so I phoned them up and said I could claim back 75% but only if i got a GP's recommendation first. So I made an appointment for this morning, and when I got in to see the GP, a wispy-haired asian fella, it went a bit along the lines of "Hmmm...., i've got a bit of a dodgy knee, it hurts a bit when i put pressure on it, right on the front of the knee-cap, and I was wondering if you could write me a recommendation for going to a really good physio that my mum knows." "Well I don't know about that, I don't think physio would be what you need." "Well, he is very good, and I am going to go to him anyway, so you might aswell." "just roll your trousers up." (I did, and he looks at my knees and calves for about 4 seconds.) " "Well, it's probably that ligament that goes right down the front of your leg." (no shoot sherlock...) "I can feel it when i'm cycling a bit, aswell, and when i'm playing squash." "Ah! well, you have to stop doing that my friend. When you be cycling on level surface that ok but up a hill it cause it." "Hmmm... I still get it when I haven't cycled or done anything strenuous for a while though. So are you saying I should lay in bed all day, maybe that will cure it?" "No! that be counter productive. We tell back patients not to lay in bed all day because it be counter productive." (all the while he's tapping stuff into his computer, and I can see the next bit he's typing is about what drugs he thinks i should have) "er... i'm not sure tablets are really the best thing for me, you know." "Well you not know until you have tried them will you." "So what are they, ibuprofen?" "No, they're stronger than ibuprofen. They're presecription anti-inflammatories." "But I haven't got an inflammation, that's not the problem. I need to go to a physio, I know what I need, I just need you to write me a recommendation for it." "But the physio he might not be able to see you for month." "Well that's ok, but can you not write me a recommendation for this one I already know of, so I can go to him." "Oh, private? well, I can't do that. But if you really want I can refer you to the one here, it will cost you nothing." "ok, thanks." (at this point he's backspacing out the bit he's typed about drugs and is putting 'wants to go to physio. referring.') "Here give this in at reception." "ok, thanks doctor. cheers" ! So it just goes to show you needn't be palmed off with drugs if you know that isn't the best thing for you. I think there's a vicious circle nowadays, of people being far too happy to be palmed off with drugs, and GPs being overly keen to dole them out because of the commercial muscle of the drugs companies pushing them. I think it's also a bit of a travesty how under the labour government the real health professionals that actually do things to sort people's bodies out like chiropractors and physiotherapists are normally private and have to be paid for, not to mention they still have a bit of a reputation as witch-doctors, but the GPs who are basically just a front-end for glaxo-smithkline or whatever, that don't ever actually do anything of benefit or fix you, are the ones that you have to go and see first unless you want to get your chequebook out. But the moral of the story is if you stick to your guns and know what you want and aren't afraid to insist on it, you will get it.