If it wasn’t for my parents dragging me home and to the family doctor, I probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed for a very long time. Although this may come across as me either being a ‘typical’ student or ‘being lazy’, the thing is, to me at that time, it was too much effort to register with a doctor in Manchester, book an appointment with the doctor in Manchester, go to the appointment etc, to me, there were far more important matters to intend to, such as the pub quiz.
I can’t stress enough the importance of registering with a doctor whilst you’re studying. I was stupid enough to think it was ok to travel all the way over the Pennines to see mine. It really is that easy to register with a doctor, just google your nearest doctors to either your campus or student house, ring up to see if they are taking on new patients, take a visit to fill in one of those NHS new patient forms and book an appointment.
Alternatively, you can click here to be directed to the NHS GP Finder – here it will give you an address, contact telephone number and most importantly, tell you whether they are taking on new patients.
If like me, you do quite like your doctor back at home [I like to still see mine, as he's known me ever since I was a wee nipper], you can still see them as a temporary patient. Also, if you’re in the ‘middle’ of sorting out a diagnosis with your doctor at home and feel you can not be ‘arsed’ [if you pardon my French] to go through it all again with a new doctor, just ask your doctor to write you a letter to give to your new doctor. I did, and my doctor was able to provide my new doctor an insight into what was going on, what I’d already had etc.
The real importance of registering with a doctor at the place you are studying is so you can be referred to local services. For example, you will be asked to under go a blood test at your local hospital. For me, this meant I had to get a train all the way back to Dewsbury just for a blood test, spending £14.90 for a train ticket, where I could have saved money and time, just going to the hospital in Manchester. Additionally, you will also be given appointments at your local hospital for an endoscopy as well as to see a dietician.
However, once you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, you are able to obtain gluten free bread, pasta etc on prescription. This means you will have to get a prescription form signed by your doctor every month, to be handed in to your local pharmacy for collection. So, if you’re foolish like me, this would mean travelling all the way back home, every month, just to collect your gluten free bread.