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Doctors reveal most bizarre requests from patients

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 30/03/2015 By Laura Donnelly Health Editor

Family doctors say they are becoming overloaded by bizarre requests from patients - including errant husbands seeking advice on whether to leave their wives.

Doctor takes notes as he speaks to a patient. © Rex Features Doctor takes notes as he speaks to a patient.

A dossier of cases compiled by 200 doctors shows that patients are increasingly turning to them for counsel on every aspect of their lives, including a woman complaining of sore feet after dancing in high heels, a patient whose stomach rumbled when hungry and a request for a home visit to change the batteries in a TV remote control.

The report by Resilient GP, a support group for doctors, says that while GPs are used to dealing with occasional strange requests, the number of patients seeking counsel for anything troubling them was getting out of hand and leaving less time to deal with the most serious medical concerns.

"These may sound like extreme examples, but they are all genuine, recent events. GPs report that while such requests are not new, they now occur far more frequently,” it states.

“The real danger is that if NHS time is taken up dealing with matters that could be dealt with by someone else, the ill will find it harder to access the medical treatment they need that only doctors can provide,” the report concludes.

Doctors said a number of patients also turned to them because they did not expect to have to pay for basic items – demanding prescriptions for shampoo, toilet paper, toothpaste and sun screen.

Reasons why patients visited their GPs, according to poll of 200 doctors

Affairs of the heart:

1. “I’ve just been on holiday with my mistress. I’ve just got back and work want to know where I’ve been. I’d like a sick note to cover me.”

2. “I need some advice as I want to break up with my boyfriend and I don’t know what to say”

3. “Doctor, I have cheated on my partner and now I don’t know who to choose”.

4. “Can you settle a marital dispute? My wife thinks paracetamol is better, I think ibuprofen is. Who’s right?”

5. “Doctor, can you tell my husband to stop buying food that’s near it’s ‘sell by’ date as he’s wasting money.”

Anxious parents:

1. “Doctor, please tell my son to study harder so he can get into Eton.”

2. “My sleepy baby keeps rubbing her eyes.”

3. “What normal 15 year old boy doesn’t have porn on their computer?! I’ve looked and looked but he really doesn’t! That’s not normal!”

4. “My daughter has a brown rash on her leg.” (felt tip pen ink which was rubbed off with an Alco wipe pad)

5. “My son’s shoes are rubbing him.”

Cosmetic concerns

1. “I have ugly feet.”

2. Do you have something to make my nails stronger & hair shinier before my holiday tomorrow?”

3. “My chin looks too fat in photos on Facebook – I need an operation.”

4. “I’ve bought these fancy anti-ageing face creams. Can you look at the ingredients and tell me which order I should use them in?”

5. “I have grey hairs….I’m nearly 40….have I got a medical condition?”

The most minor of problems

1. “I have sneezed twice in the last hour”.

2. Can you fix my sprained ankle before I go out tonight as I want to wear heels.”

3. “I broke my nail.”

4. “I have had a sore throat since this morning.”

5. I had an insect bite last week and it itched like hell. It’s gone now, but wondered if it will itch if I get another one?”

Everyday life

1. “Doctor – my stomach makes this weird rumbling/gurgling noise whenever I haven’t eaten.”

2. “A bird pooped on me”.

3. “My skin is too soft.”

4. “I get sore feet when I dance in high heels.”

5. My lodger is annoying me because he’s spending too much time in his room.”

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