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At the heart of general practice since 1960

No PM and a locum who can't be woken

Dinah's frail 80 year old patient is managing better than she is

Dinah's frail 80 year old patient is managing better than she is

Monday

Early start – old Practice Manager winding down, new PM not yet in post, so I'm in charge now! Ha! Instruct staff to pay no bills without my personal agreement and order coffee. No, hot chocolate. No, maybe tea … receptionist sighs patiently and asks what I'm doing about GP holidays later in week, am I covering surgery or not? Oh dear, forgot I'd agreed to speak at a conference, we'll need a locum. Receptionist nods and waits. Does she want something? She sighs again. Could I give her the locum file so she can sort it out? Oh! Of course! Thank you …

Move on to patients. (This practice management thing is a doddle). Mr F, an 80-year old I haven't seen for 3 years. How frail he is. I last saw him just before his wife died, then he withdrew from the world until called in recently for a cataract extraction. Peering at me through thick lenses he walked hesitatingly through the door and took my seat in front of the computer. I sat in the patient's seat (note: get more comfortable chairs) and we discussed his bereavement. He still sleeps with his wife (in a jar) and sees her walking around – hallucination or haunting? Either way it eases his pain. He's confused but manages bills and shopping.

I'm late for PCT meeting – rush to get papers from secretary - what's all this? Practice manager post. Shove in bag and zoom off.

Wednesday

Chair local service redesign conference. Talks go OK but it's so boring. Chat over coffee. Mobile buzzes in pocket – surgery, receptionist worried about locum who seems very forgetful. He went on a visit and, forgetting he'd put his bag down whilst looking for car keys, subsequently reversed over it and flattened his stethoscope. Now he's back but she can't wake him up and there are two patients waiting.

Excuse myself from break-out sessions and gratefully rush over to surgery. A frail old man is snoring away in my chair. Is it Mr F from Monday? He wakes with a jump; it's definitely the locum. Is he all right? Has he been drinking? Turns out he recently lost a close relative. I make the tea and see the patients, then we have a long chat and he goes home. Receptionist mentions more PM post – where did those papers go I took home on Monday? Must look for them.

Find papers later at home, too late to worry about them tonight –sort tomorrow.

Friday

Surgery again. Three coffees and engrossed with patients when receptionist interrupts looking very worried. We have received a disconnection notice from the Water Board as I haven't paid the bill. Look in bag – yes, sheepishly I produce a red demand and pay by Debit Card over the phone.

Mr F has left flowers, he remembered I would be in this morning. Obviously managing better than me. Phone old PM. Are you busy? There are a few bits and pieces to deal with at the surgery…

Dinah

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