“I’ve learned to stand my ground with doctors”

The 12-Week Asthma Support Programme helped student Charlotte, 19, talk to her GP with confidence

Charlotte Duckett photograph"I come from a small town in North Wales, where I had a GP who had known me for a long time. They trusted me to look after my own asthma and listened when I told them I felt something wasn’t quite right. When I moved to Leeds to study music, I had to build that trust with my healthcare professionals all over again.

"It was frustrating. Suddenly I was being asked questions like ‘do you take your medicine?’. I would tell them the truth - that I haven’t missed a dose of my preventer medicines for three years! Plus, for the first time I didn’t have my mum there with me to back me up."

I needed help with my asthma

"I knew my asthma was getting worse and I knew I needed to do something about it. And because I’m on a high dose of steroids anyway, I needed to go to a specialist asthma clinic to get more help. But I saw a different GP every time I went and they didn’t refer me, because they weren’t convinced that I was ill enough.

"That’s why I decided to do the 12-Week Asthma Support Programme. I didn’t think I needed help caring for my asthma, I was already doing that. But I wanted proof for my GP that I was doing something and my asthma was still getting worse. But the programme ended up being about so much more than that."

Completing the 12-Week Asthma Support Programme

"Most of all, the programme gave me confidence. It changed how I view myself and my asthma. It felt like I wasn’t just taking my medicines by rote any more – I could take my asthma into my own hands.

"One of the things I found helpful was talking to the nurse on the phone. She asked me why I was doing the programme, and I explained. Then she set me up with another call later that week. It was exactly what I needed. I was getting so worked up in my head about my asthma getting worse and needing more medication. And the nurse I spoke to was so nice and calming.

"Then there was the week where we did an exercise about talking to healthcare professionals. Doctors shouldn’t make me nervous because I’ve seen them about my asthma since I was two – but they do. I often start mumbling and forgetting words.

"I’d never thought of writing things down before, but the programme suggested it. So now I go into my appointments with my symptoms, my peak flow, what’s been happening and for how long, all written down. It’s like a safety net.

"Since the programme, I’ve stood my ground with healthcare professionals. My most recent conversation with a GP went well and they finally referred me to an asthma specialist. I’ve even written a list of things to talk to them about too!"

Sign up to the 12-Week Asthma Support Programme 

Last updated October 2017