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Only the obsessionals will bother with a personal care plan

Well, knock me down with a carefully written, patient-centred, goal-sharing personal care plan. Apparently, this particular government initiative for patients with chronic conditions doesnt actually work.

Well, knock me down with a carefully written, patient-centred, goal-sharing personal care plan. Apparently, this particular government initiative for patients with chronic conditions doesnt actually work.

No kidding? Some ideas are just so risible that we GPs can't even bother to get agitated by them. That's why, when it was previously suggested that we might have to produce 15 million of the buggers - we let out a howl of laughter rather than protest.

True, at that time, we didn't realise, as we do now, that they didn't work. Possibly we were still under the illusion that, given the climate of evidence-based medicine, an initiative as potentially onerous and expensive as this must have been based on some sound research.

But it didn't matter, anyway. Because we knew that the punters wouldn't give a toss. Sure, a tiny minority would be attracted by the idea. But these obsessionals – easily recognised as those who, for example, bring in bound spreadsheets of their HbA1c covering the last three years – will already have downloaded some type of personal care plan from ‘tortureyourGP.com'.

The rest act like normal human beings. Their chronic illness is not their raison d'etre, it's an irritant inconvenience. They want to do the bare minimum to keep it at bay, not focus on it with repeated appointments and personal manifestos.

We GPs realise this, because we accept non attendance, poor compliance and cheerful fatalism as part of real life. Disease drum-bangers, politicians and focus groups don't. And, unfortunately, they're the ones who dictate policy.

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