As Britain suffers its worst winter for more than thirty years, GPs across the country have been sending in pictures and stories of how they’ve been coping with the Arctic conditions.
It’s clear that in some areas, the weather is no joke – you may already have seen our story on dispensing GPs in Cheshire who have been refused emergency dispensing rights, leading to patients travelling miles in dangerous weather conditions to the nearest open pharmacy.
But elsewhere, record quantities of the white stuff have led to a smile or two in practice staff rooms.
Dr Andy Jones, a GP in Hereford, reports that but for a ‘dollop’ of snow, local services have been relatively unaffected. But that hasn’t stopped overzealous ‘elf and safety merchants at the PCT swinging into action.
‘My day was brightened by some pen-pusher at the PCT who sent one of those irritating ’round-robin’ e-mails of staggering stupidity,’ he writes. ‘It reminded me that if I was to go out in the cold weather I should ‘wrap up warm’.’
‘I should also keep draughts out of my house by keeping the curtains pulled! I kid you not…’
‘When the steam had stopped issuing from my lug-holes I couldn’t help but laugh.’
A questionable use of NHS resources as the health service faces funding cuts, no doubt – but if this photo by Bolton GP Dr Geraldine Hearn is anything to go by, sound advice nonetheless. Up in Lancashire a thick layer of snow has leant a fairytale sheen to the most mundane places – as Dr Hearn puts it, ‘Guess they won’t be emptying the dustbins then.’
In Manchester, meanwhile, Dr Lawrence Addlestone’s contemplating a change in career direction after his choice of car made him the only logical choice to play practice chauffeur.
‘As the ‘gas guzzling’ 4×4 owning partner, it is now my job to pick up all those staff snowed in by the weather here in Manchester, followed by doing all the visits,’ he says.
‘Mind you I don’t mind really – it’s a challenge and such fun in such a capable car. I really think I need a ‘SMUG’ sign on the back though!’
Icy conditions have also made driving more difficult in Nottinghamshire, we’re told – although Susanna Robinson, a data quality nurse at the Woodlands Medical Practice in Sutton in Ashfield, reports an unexpected bonus.
‘I have a rear wheel drive car,’ she says, ‘and it is rubbish in the snow. Have needed a lot of pushing to get into and out of surgery car parks.’
But she adds: ‘On the positive side – I skidded into a car parking space that I would not normally have managed.’
Dr Geraldine Hearn took this photo of heavy snowfall in Bolton Dr Geraldine Hearn took this photo of heavy snowfall in Bolton Now tell us your story – and win a £25 Amazon voucher
Tell us how your practice is coping with the wintry weather or send us a photo, and you could win a £25 Amazon voucher.
Whether you’re snowed in for the duration, or just received a light dusting and are wondering what all the fuss is about, we’re asking you to send us your pictures and stories.
We’ll be publishing the best, so you can earn snow-bragging rights with your colleagues. And there’s a £25 Amazon voucher up for grabs for our favourite photo or anecdote.
Please email your experiences and photos to PulseToday editor Steve Nowottny at firstname.lastname@example.org – or alternatively let us know how you’re faring in the comments below.