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Can I force a flatmate to seek medical assistance?


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We've had a new young flatmate for the last two months. She spends the whole day sitting in the common room (tv room + kitchen) dry-coughing and spreading potential germs around, not to mention the annoyance of somebody coughing in your face.

 

She doesn't appear to work or study and is not getting any better. She's from the old Europe block and is not registered to a GP and no medical insurance. In other words she can't be bothered with seeking assistance and clearly not in a condition to take care of herself.

 

As she is not registered and she doesn't want to, we have volunteered to escort her to one of these GP-led walk-in centres where she can be visited by a proper doctor. She is not refusing in principle but she's been making all sort of excuses.

 

We've spoken to the landlord but he has only come out with empty promises and no action. He doesn't live with us so he can't be bothered.

 

I am not sure if calling the NHS Direct would make any sense. My personal experience with NHS Direct has often revealed to be a waste of time.

 

I wonder if we have any legal route that we can follow.

 

Thank you for your time.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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Unless you are her next of kin or guardian, or her health poses a serious risk to the general public or those in the area, unfortunately there is nothing you can do but ask her to see a doctor.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

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I've done the NHS symptom checker on her behalf and to be safe I marked persistent cough as the only symptom:

https://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/CheckSymptoms/SATs/coldandflu.aspx#progress

 

You should call 111 for advice if:

 

 

  • you have a cough for longer than 3 weeks
  • you are losing weight unexpectedly
  • you are concerned about a child or an elderly person
  • this health and symptom checker has not addressed your symptoms

 

Reduce the risk of spreading colds and flu to other people by:

 

  • covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • washing your hands regularly
  • throwing used tissues away immediately
  • working from home if possible, and keeping children who have symptoms away from school

 

She's been coughing for as long as we've known her and she's not taking any precautions when living in the common room (that is always). I am sure there must be something we can do to force her to take care of herself and others.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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Unfortunately no. Unless you suspect that she has a severe illness and it is a hazard to nearby people, then theres nothing you can do. WHat type of cough is it? Hacking, throaty, chesty?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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She is an adult and i am afraid you can do little unless she is sectionable under the mental health act. You say she is from the old Europe,do you mean the former eastern block? She may well not be old enough to have even lived through communism. It is 24 years since Poland became independent.

 

Is she from an EU state,if so she does not need medical insurance

 

There are various reasons for a cough and not all are spreading germs,as an adult at unit i would expect you to know that

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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Unfortunately no. Unless you suspect that she has a severe illness and it is a hazard to nearby people, then theres nothing you can do. WHat type of cough is it? Hacking, throaty, chesty?

 

It's a dry chesty cough. She's been like this since she moved in. Even at night we can hear her cough for hours now. It's been like this for two months.

 

With regards to her being a hazard to nearby people, it's a bit of chicken and egg situation. We can't prove and we hope she's got nothing serious but who knows really. It's a bit suspicious that she won't go to the doctor knowing it's for free. What if she's got something serious and she's hiding it?

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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It's a dry chesty cough. She's been like this since she moved in. Even at night we can hear her cough for hours now. It's been like this for two months.

 

With regards to her being a hazard to nearby people, it's a bit of chicken and egg situation. We can't prove and we hope she's got nothing serious but who knows really. It's a bit suspicious that she won't go to the doctor knowing it's for free. What if she's got something serious and she's hiding it?

 

What if she is doctor / hospital phobic ?

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Have you talked to the local doctor or hospital?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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Have you talked to the local doctor or hospital?

I've got my own GP but I am not sure what to say. The alternative is to call NHS Direct and see what they say.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for Poundland"

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Speak to any doctor. They have a duty of care no matter who it is. Nhs direct imo are useless.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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Speak to any doctor. They have a duty of care no matter who it is. Nhs direct imo are useless.

 

They have a duty of care to render aid in an emergency.

This isn't an emergency.

 

If you inform any Dr except her GP or the Health Protection Unit, they'll likely say "contact her GP". Come to think of it if you contact the Health Protection Unit - they'll say "in absence of a diagnosis we need to get involved with - contact her GP".

This would discharge any duty of care they might owe.

Edited by BazzaS
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Doctors have a duty of care to anyone at any time. It is part of the oath that the swear when becoming a doctor. It doesnt have to be an emergency.

 

Besides, you could ask your own doctor what to do, as a lot of doctors are willing to help... if you can get the person in. Doctors know MUCH more than some silly phone "nurse" on the NHS helpline.

 

I live near an area that has a lot of eastern europeans living there. Not many of them are registered with GP's, but a lot of GP's around the area will say, if you suspect someone has a serious illness, or show signs, then contact the doctor who can advise on what to do. A doctor who shrugs sick people off should be struck off the medical register imo.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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It is of course possible that she knows exactly what is wrong but is too scared to do anything about it.

Just how persuasive are you being

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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Doctors have a duty of care to anyone at any time. It is part of the oath that the swear when becoming a doctor. It doesnt have to be an emergency.

 

Besides, you could ask your own doctor what to do, as a lot of doctors are willing to help... if you can get the person in. Doctors know MUCH more than some silly phone "nurse" on the NHS helpline.

 

I live near an area that has a lot of eastern europeans living there. Not many of them are registered with GP's, but a lot of GP's around the area will say, if you suspect someone has a serious illness, or show signs, then contact the doctor who can advise on what to do. A doctor who shrugs sick people off should be struck off the medical register imo.

 

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

 

It hasn't been obligatory (nor even commonplace!) for UK Doctor's to swear the Hippocratic Oath on qualification for over 20 years.

If they did so and they didn't amend it there would be no urologists (do you really want them to swear that they will not "cut for stone" and then abide by it?)

 

Even if they decided to swear to uphold the Declaration of Geneva, there isnt anything in there that says "you must treat any patient you hear about".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Geneva

 

As I said before a doctor who says "contact their GP" isn't "shrugging sick people off", they are suggesting the best placed and most appropriate health professional to help.

If a Dr chose to become involved, they would be obliged to inform the patient's GP anyway ; which is why they would like refer the enquiry to the patient's GP anyhow. If what you were suggesting was correct it'd be a disorganised "free for all", with every doctor dealing with any and every patient they heard about, even if they weren't the best placed person to deal with the problem ; which would be madness.

 

What if one of the OP's acquaintances was an obstetrician? Are you really suggesting that if they heard about the housemate they'd have to deal with it ; not their patient, not their area of expertise. Again, if you are really advocating that : Madness.

 

The GMC's document on good medical practice is here:

http://www.gmc-uk.org/static/documents/content/GMP_2013.pdf_51447599.pdf

 

Nothing in there says "you have to treat any patient you hear about / get told about".\

 

If you doubt what I say, give the GMC a call :ask them :

 

"if

a) it isn't an emergency

b) a doctor is told about someone who isn't their patient, who won't go to their own GP

c) that Dr says "let the patient's GP know" "

then ask the GMC if they feel that response is good medical practice or not ......... I bet the GMC says it is good medical practice rather than professional misconduct.

 

To the OP : tell the housemate's GP. Don't expect them to give you any information back beyond "we understand what you are telling us", but let them know of the problem.

Edited by BazzaS
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