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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

The day my surgery was invaded by an entire town

On a single dark and rainy day, Geoff is left remembering his halcyon days as a registrar

On a single dark and rainy day, Geoff is left remembering his halcyon days as a registrar

It was one of those days. I had had no idea it would be one of those days. Even being duty doctor came as a surprise (mental note - pay more attention to the rota). Then, of course, the entire town chose that rainy and dark Tuesday afternoon to fall ill and come and see me.

The place was going like a fair. I saw an elderly gentleman still wearing his pyjamas and slippers. He told me it was his first time out of the house since his bypass. I told him I was flattered.

I saw a baby who had fallen in the park and who wouldn't wake up. That's the first time in a long, long while I've done a sternal rub on an infant. I used my left hand because my right was frantically dialling the hospital.

I also saw a young girl of Polish persuasion seen by the nurse with a UTI and loin pain. That was fair enough. What wasn't so cool was that her friend did all of the talking, and the talking was all about the friend's problem.

Using energy and enthusiasm to make up for vocabulary she explained that she and her boyfriend had recently suffered condom membrane integrity failure during a particularly vigorous session.

At this point in time my screen was showing many, many people waiting. My facial expression was gradually changing its setting from mild annoyance to full on furious. In Spinal Tap terms, I was now set on 11. Despite this, the girl cracked on. You see, it wasn't that she became pregnant. No, the problem was that she didn't become pregnant.

My internal censor ran through a few lines and rejected such things as: "Look! There are sick people out there! The last man I saw was heading straight for the hospital. Come back to me in your night gown and I'll take you more seriously. Besides, from where I'm sitting you look pretty fertile to me."

Calm down, breathe deeply

Not wanting to get reported to the GMC, I took a few seconds out to calm down, breathe deeply, and reflect on my halcyon registrar days. Ah, the endless picnics. The banks of the sun dappled river. The ragging about. My dear friend Dr. Z has been telling me how much fun it is taking an endless series of exams.

The fact that the exams are all new and that he is a guinea pig is a fact he finds positively stimulating. He also says that he has so much more energy these days now that he is cycling to work. Without the car allowance he is having to cut back on little luxuries like petrol, textbooks, and lunch.

All of which caused me to snap back with a jolt to the present. It is such a relief to be MRCGP positive and to be beyond that hassle. With new found energy and enthusiasm I leapt over the language barriers and tackled the fertility issue with open arms (it's all starting to sound a bit Mills and Boon, isn't it?).

Even though part of me was still thinking that this seemed like a waste of an emergency slot (which wasn't even hers), I re-analysed it from her point of view. To be 19 and to be convinced that you are barren is a big thing. Almost - but not quite - as bad as a registrar facing the nMRCGP.

Geoff Tipper is a newly qualified GP in Maidenhead, Berkshire


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