Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Life in the GP trenches

"If I take too long to think about the impossibility of what I'm trying to do, I'll be defeated by it" Tim Cahill on the challenge of being a writer.

So according to my BBC radio 4 listen on my way to work, there is yet more advice on how to be a GP. Apparently in the UK we have 1000 more deaths from cancer than we should have relative to our European partners. So NICE has come up with the answer, refer more more people more quickly for 'tests'. Oh deary me, has anyone who comes up with these pronouncements ever worked full time for many years in general practice?

One thing that make GP the challenge that it is, is managing an ever increasing tendency to medicalise all of life, with concurrent absence of family support and 'common' sense. By which I mean that our newspapers and medial generally are full of 'conditions' waiting to deprive us of healthy life. No part of life is free. Holiday ailments, stress in the workplace, cholesterol, obesity, GM foods, shyness, ageing, pregnancy, every part of life is out to get us. And since we all live miles away from parents and grandparents (especially the latter who were used to dealing with problems themselves, since a phone call to the GP at night may have meant a 400 year walk to the nearest phone box-well it did for my granny, I remember walking with her!), no sensible advice is on hand.

So as a GP still remain a gatekeeper of the NHS, desperately holding  my finger in the dyke of spiralling costs, trying to reassure that not every symptom needs close attention and 'tests', and that when a patient has consulted me they have 'seen someone' (as in the patient who requests to 'see someone', ie  a specialist, who by definition has a limited view of things, after I have spent 20 minutes reassuring the patient about their problem). And yet on the other hand the advice to refer more and more patients into a system that is already clogged.

Ah well, retirement looms!
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