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No patients, no cry?

The summer season once again brings the prolonged exercise of trying to juggle a depleted workforce with enjoying some time outside in the rain, at the same time as being in four places at three different times picking up or dropping off various offspring.

General practice is under pressure – we all know that, and you will be relieved to hear that I am not going to tell you otherwise or try to convince you that the higher authorities are on our side, or have our best interests at heart. You can judge that for yourselves by their actions.

However, there is some good in this world and I can vouch for this as I sit here listening to a selection of Bob Marley tracks courtesy of Spotify, one of the marvels of the modern day. When I listen to reggae, and Marley in particular, I get transported back in time to 1988 when I spent my elective period in Jamaica ‘Waiting in Vain’ at Kingston public hospital.

There were no higher authorities there – it was pretty much every man, woman and child for themselves and the bullet holes in the walls testified to that. The provision of medicine was a bit of a lottery, but we did our best and survived the long ‘Night Shift’ albeit with the odd trip to listen to reggae, drink red stripe, and generally chill in the street bars behind the hospital to ‘Satisfy My Soul’.

Our modern NHS is so far removed from this, but the ‘Rat race’ that controls our lives prevents us from appreciating that sometimes, and there is ‘So Much Trouble in The World’ we are frequently distracted from seeing that the ‘Sun is Shining’ on our western 21st century ‘Concrete Jungle’.

Back to the point of the piece – what was it? I was originally going to write about the use of electric devices. ‘I see you are smoking a joint the size of a 747 Bob, can I interest you in an e-Spliff?’ E-cigarettes have definitely changed the landscape and I can’t help feeling they are a good thing for all those ‘Crazy Baldheads’ out there. I like to embrace technology and all that, but every man has his limits, so how could I possibly respond to being asked, as I was recently, for my view on electric bikes?

As one of my cycling buddies advised me, it’s difficult to remain GMC compliant on a response to that question but I gave it a go anyway. ‘Who was riding such a bike?’ I asked the patient. Well, ‘Johnny Was’ they responded which immediately got me thinking, ‘Could You be Loved’, before I came to my senses.

‘Get Up, Stand Up’ I demanded and ‘Ride Natty Ride’.

So as the summer progresses, let’s get out and about, enjoy the small things in life, ‘Wake Up and Live’, ‘Stop That Train’ and prevent the great ‘Exodus’ from primary care.

My favourite Marley track? ‘Johnny Was’, and if you liked the Stiff Little Fingers version of this a few years later then stay tuned…

Maybe I’ll write about electronic devices next time. Then again there is ‘So Much Things To Say’…

Dr Richard Cook is a GP partner in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex. You can follow him on Twitter @drmoderate