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07.50 A new challenge halfway through my GP career

Dr Eurig Harries, a GP in New Quay, West Wales, has barely slept in anticipation of a life-changing day

I start today in New Quay Surgery in Ceredigion. A new challenge halfway through my GP career.

Awake at 01:53 in the morning. I can’t sleep as I’m half nervous, half excited. The last time I felt like this was 16 years ago when I started my first GP partnership at Meddygfa Rhiannon in Narberth, Pembrokeshire.

My first 5 years of training as a doctor involved change. Every 6 months a new job to give me the variety of knowledge I’d need as a GP. 10 posts in 5 years. A different area of medicine each time, often with a new hospital or surgery.

I knew moving on from the surgery after almost 16 years would be hard. The partners and the staff had all become friends who I would miss very much. What I hadn’t realised was how hard it was to leave my patients. 16 years of getting to know individuals and a community, their medical conditions, their hopes and fears. ‘He’s like that because of that event’, ‘she’s like that because of her family history’, ‘remember what happened to them’.

Babies I checked in my first few weeks who are now seeing me for anxiety about their GCSEs. Elderly ladies with their best wishes, patients saying ‘we’ll miss you’, the regulars asking ‘who do we see now?’, the little four year old who says ‘that’s my Doctor’.

The unexpected benefit of moving is realising what’s the important part of being a GP and what I love about this profession. QOF, QP, DES, LES, and all the other constant changes thrown at us are only means to an end. It always starts and ends with a patient who needs our help.

Not only has moving made me realise how thankful patients are towards their GP, but as a GP how enriching it is to be part of my patients’ lives. I am looking forward to getting to know my partners and the staff, but I’m also excited about getting to know my patients and their community.

But now I must get some sleep- a big day ahead.


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