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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dinah can't seem to get her mind off drink these days

Monday

Early start to surgery, planning to clear a batch of eGFRs. A favourite task as it prompts fond memories of the medical school physiology lecturer: 'The purpose of the kidneys is to turn the red wine of burgundy into urine' – a function I've held dear ever since, although sauvignon blanc will do.

Several patients today with alcohol-related problems: one man smelling heavily of EtOH and convinced the police were following him in a helicopter. Referred him to Community Addictions but what if the police really are after him? (Guiltily remember the elderly woman who complained that the neighbours were coming in and stealing her gas – referred her to Elderly Mental Health and she almost ended up sectioned before the CPN discovered a hole in the wall under the stairs with pipes leading next door!).

Tuesday

PBC LDP meeting – alcohol services underfunded; consequences expensive such as A&E attendances. Now that 24-hour drinking is agreed to have been a mistake maybe things will improve (although I will miss popping into Tesco

at midnight when running low on chardonnay).

But where will we get the funds to set up new services, and what actually works anyway? Alcohol Liaison bid for A&E dept thrown out – expensive waste of time, evidence doesn't support it.

Notice police helicopter on way home. Decide not to call at supermarket for gin just in case.

Wednesday

Woken early by noisy road works outside house. Private residential alcohol rehab centre is having garage converted into new office – business must be good! At least they have 24-hour cover now – when it first opened the staff left at 6pm so residents partied all night long and chucked empties over the back wall.

Rush to PCT – e-mail inbox blocked with business case for home dialysis patient. Services are organised by tertiary unit but they charge for the house extension and there's no budget for this even though lifetime costs will be less overall, and patient's quality of life will be considerably better. Wonder what the house looks like now – hope they got rid of the 1970s home bar, but somehow I doubt it. They always offered me a sweet sherry when visiting: one reason to give up house calls.

Decide not to go to evening meeting on diabetes.

Call at Tesco but leave wine section empty-handed as bump into rehab patient from across the road.

Dinah Roy is a GP in Spennymoor, chair of Sedgefield PBC group and co-PEC chair of County Durham PCT

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