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Being a GP truly is a dog’s life



In the newspaper trade, August is known as ‘the silly season’, as the paucity of ordinary news occasioned by the parliamentary summer recess leaves journalists reliant on less heavyweight stories with which to fill their pages. It’s a tough time for the honest scribblers of the fourth estate; goodness knows the temptation must be strong to simply hand over the reins to a bunch of interns on work experience.

But the show must go on, and so we find ourselves treated to hitherto overlooked gems like this BBC piece about surfing dogs, delivered by Simon McCoy doing his best impression of a GP in their last duty surgery before annual leave.

Thankfully, our sensible medical press would never resort to such canine-themed frivolities.

Oh wait.

So it turns out GPs should be prescribing dog ownership, according to a new statistical analysis in the Journal of Guys This Maths Stuff Is All Well And Good But Maybe You Should Consider Getting Out Into The Real World A Bit More You Never Know You Might Meet Someone Special We’re None Of Us Getting Any Younger.

Normally I’d just add this to the never-ending list of Things That People Who Don’t Work As GPs Think GPs Have Time To Do and move on, but it’s given me an idea. We don’t have enough doctors to meet demand, but by contrast, dog numbers are rising.

An obvious solution presents itself: rather than putting pooches on prescription, could we fix the GP crisis by cutting out the middle man and giving the prescription pad to the dog?

Think about it for a minute. We’re always being told GPs are ‘ideally placed’, but we don’t actually live in patients’ houses. You know who does? DOGS. Can’t get more ideally placed than that.

Not only that, but while GPs are notoriously bad at spotting malignancy, no less a publication than the Daily Mail has explained how dogs can predict cancer with 100% accuracy.

It’s LITERALLY foolproof. And I’ve reluctantly endured enough episodes of Paw Patrol in my time to know that dogs will be more than equal to the core GP task of checking building fire safety.

And for those of you who think my scheme to save general practice is a bit, well, silly, I would point you toward what currently passes for the official plan and ask which is more plausible – Jeremy Hunt delivering 5000 new GPs by 2020, or me training Fido to ask about ideas concerns and expectations? At least the silly season isn’t scheduled to last another 5 years…