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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Watching for change in a GP's behaviour

From Dr Declan Fox

Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone

I was interested to read your GP responses to the dilemma of the good reliable locum who suddenly goes off the rails (Registrar, 2 March).

While I appreciate that the replies covered most of the bases very well and that Dr Wynne-Jones did mention the possibility that such doctors may be 'stressed, unwell or have substance abuse problems', I was frankly horrified that no one went right away for what seems the most obvious diagnosis.

Namely that this doctor is unwell, whether physically or mentally, or in debt, or having serious relationship problems, or whatever.

I have seen similar happenings several times over my years in general practice and every single time the doctor has next been heard of in a psychiatric unit. As a patient.

It would be rather bad if GP registrars reading this piece were not made aware of the most likely cause of sudden changes in behaviour and competence.

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