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Why being 'my GP' to a patient will secure our future

In the first of his new weekly blogs for pulsetoday, The Jobbing Doctor recalls how his last patient of the week exemplified what general practice is about and demonstrated why it will survive despite the Government's efforts to destroy it.

In the first of his new weekly blogs for pulsetoday, The Jobbing Doctor recalls how his last patient of the week exemplified what general practice is about and demonstrated why it will survive despite the Government's efforts to destroy it.

My last patient of the week (6.30 on a Friday evening) was a young lady who is making her way in the world. She is now nearly 21, and is moving onwards and upwards in her career.

She is working in a large utility group, and has started to apply for managerial jobs. Nothing strange in that, I'm sure you'll agree. Except that, apart from her mum and nan, I have been the one constant feature of her life. I remember when her mum was in labour, and I attended to her on the local GP unit (and may well have stitched up the episiotomy), looked after all her childhood illnesses, saw her in junior, then senior school, then she became a teenager.

41220946Ah, teenagers. They know everything and have the attitude to say so. I remember her rebellions and her behaviour issues.

Then, as she started to grow into an adult, it was me who put her on the pill and gave her sexual health advice. Then she left home, and set up home with her boyfriend, but made sure we was close to mum and in Jobbing Doctor's practice area.

This is one of the stories that many GPs up and down the country could tell, and is the bedrock of the way in which healthcare is delivered in this country. It has worked pretty well until now, although we are beginning to see the cracks in this system as more and more roles are done by non-doctors, and Government values convenience over continuity, and puts all the resources in that direction.

I was reminded of the time when I was a young dad, and would pick up my two daughters from primary school, as we had a new baby. There were little knots of mothers standing around the playground, and as I was a bloke, I didn't fit in with any particular group, so I drifted from group to group.

They were all talking about the things they had in common, and what they had in common were the experiences of pregnancy, birth, early childhood illnesses, immunisations etc. I heard them referring to colleagues saying ‘Dr Smith came to see me' or ‘I was examined by Dr Brown' - I knew Drs. Smith and Brown (but the mums didn't know me as I live just outside my practice area).

Two things then struck me. Firstly, there would be an identical playground 3 miles away where they would be talking about me! Secondly, whenever they referred to the hospital experience, they would talk about the nurse, the consultant, the midwife, the paediatrician; but whenever they talked about their GPs it was always my doctor, my surgery.

So there you have it. The difference between general practice and hospital medicine is down to the personal possessive pronoun, first person singular versus the definite article. ‘My' not ‘the'.

Unfortunately, the Government just don't understand this.

Generally, the patients do understand this. This is why General Practice will survive.

Who is The Jobbing Doctor?

The Jobbing Doctor is a jobbing general practitioner in a deprived urban area of England. I tend to write about what I see and experience in primary care - the highs (and there are many of them), the lows (some of them as well), and many other things in between.


There is a long history of doctors who write. Whilst I would never put myself in the same league as almost all of them, there seems to be a compulsion to write down our experiences, as we are often the chronicler of the common man. Writing a blog is really a form of this.

Thejobbingdoctor's new blog for pulsetoday: Why being 'my GP' for a patient secures the future of general practice

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