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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Sinister forces may slow me down, but I'm still moving on

Geoff is convinced there are sinister forces at work to delay his every journey to the rural surgery he's practicing at. So he's thankful that it's his final stint as a locum before he joins the Great and Grand Society of GP partners.

Geoff is convinced there are sinister forces at work to delay his every journey to the rural surgery he's practicing at. So he's thankful that it's his final stint as a locum before he joins the Great and Grand Society of GP partners.

I am beginning to suspect that there are forces at play in the universe I don't fully comprehend. I've long had this feeling in a vague way when it comes to things like cricket scores, tax returns, and eGFR.

But over the past few days a slightly more sinister pattern has been emerging.

I've spent the last week working in a practice many miles distant from my home. The distance is increased by the fact I take the back roads.

Technically, though, there aren't any "front" roads between me and there, so it's not entirely through a desire to see some countryside that I go this route.

Three of the past mornings have seen me stuck behind an agonisingly slow vehicle the entire way.

At each intersection I religiously repeat my mantra: "turn the other way turn the other way turn the other way" to no avail.

On each occasion the driver in front feels impelled to lead me to my destination at roughly half the speed limit. Maybe I should hedge my bets?

I could put Ganesha, an Icon, and a Buddha on my dash, because my powerful mantra just doesn't seem to be doing the job.

Today it was a battered white van. I have unwittingly memorised the phone number for a home and garden service, having followed its courier for 35 minutes through the countryside.

The van ultimately turned in to a vacant lot a quarter of a mile away from the surgery. I mean, how sinister is that?

No home nor garden there. If you like, I can pass on the number if you're looking for a Home and Garden Service in the Aylesbury area. But I would need to add two caveats:

A) Unless they leave the night before, the service is unlikely to be on time.

B) They're obviously in league with the devil.

Perhaps I should be relishing these days. Perhaps the grand plan is unfolding so that I savour not just the exhaust from the "turbo" range rover I was stuck behind yesterday but the memory and sense of these days as well.

You see, a great chapter of my life is ending. Today, in fact, marks my last day as a locum - foot loose and fancy free (what on earth does that phrase actually mean?).

Come Monday I will become a normal member of the great and grand society of GPs.

I am delighted, of course. Permanence! Solidity! A place to hang a few pictures! My name on the "how they like their tea" list!

I know that there are those who quite enjoy the locum lifestyle. And I agree there is a certain zest to the holidays concept.

Hmm, I think I'd like a few days off. Better ask the boss: "Geoff, what do you say to some time off?"

"Well Geoff, that would be splendid. Now stop talking to yourself or people will begin to not hire us. Just carry on talking to the Buddha on the dash. I think Ganesha has fallen asleep and the Icon has been ignoring us for ages."

Of course the appeal wanes when one realises that no work equals no pay.

And let's not forget the constant generation of invoices and the chasing up arrears. The flurry of paperwork this generates can be truly tedious around tax time.

Although I once trumpeted the blessed ability of the locum to leave heart sink patients behind, I am now looking forward to whipping my new clientele into shape.

All in all, as I say again, I am delighted. Bring on Monday morning!

Geoff Tipper

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