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The real reason I don’t want a partnership

My mind is wandering.

It has been eight months since I started semi regular locums at this practice. I love it. The patients are polite, not particularly demanding. Anything remotely unrealistic is usually backed with ‘well I’ve got private insurance so I’m happy to pay to see the specialist’.

If I could change anything about this practice, what would it be? Honestly? I hate the toilet

The staff are friendly, committed and there are many that have been here for decades, so there is obviously low turnover. It is within commuting distance. In fact, one of the partners lives down the road from me.

‘So would you be interested in a partnership?’ she asks tentatively. My mind suddenly focuses back on to the conversation at hand. That neighbourly partner, Anne, is in my room. She’s even brought in a secret weapon – chocolate Hob Nobs, flanked with a cup of tea. I was eyeing those Hob Nobs in the office shelves. She must have noticed my weakness for sugary biscuity goodness.

An equally long and awkward pause ensues. ‘Urmm’ I blurted out, half rumination, half primal grunt.

Ummm? Really, that’s all I’ve got? Whilst I definitely wasn’t expecting ‘the partnership talk’, clearly those Hob Nobs have drained what remains of my eloquence. Or was there something else?

It seems to be a great practice in many ways. So what is the cause of my reservation?

Is it income? Anne drives a brand new Range Rover – surely they can’t be that badly off. Can I ask if she got it on lease? Maybe a bit rude, I’ll have another Hob Nob first.

Teaching? They have students and are a training practice, ticks my boxes easily.

Nursing homes? They have a couple. But they get paid to look after them from a separate LES. Acceptable I guess.

My locum lifestyle? Yes maybe I will miss it, but there are downsides to being a nomad. I’ve always wanted to be a trainer, and I can’t do that flying around the motorways in a new direction every day.

So what is the real cause of the reluctance, when I really think about it? If I could change anything about this practice, what would it be?

Honestly? I hate the toilet.

I am sure at this point you may be thinking that I’ve lost the plot. Although this is quite possible, I would argue that there should be a significant degree of strategic planning involved with a toilet. Indeed, I believe the Chinese referred to this as ‘Feng Shui’. Not sure if they had toilets specifically in mind, though.

The practice is in a lovely old Georgian building, built on a hilly slope. The only toilet in the practice is located at the end of a very long corridor which passes all the patient seating areas. It’s a real walk of shame, all eyes on me as I close the toilet door behind me. And I really do not need Mrs Jones to know my toileting habits when I’ve just been asking about her IBS.  I also can’t make it through a surgery without at least three cups of tea, so my bladder certainly would not approve.

The toilet is also freezing cold in the winter and has no radiator. Yep, I think that is my decision made. I’m not doing my dirty business in subzero conditions.

‘I’m not looking for a partnership at the moment, Anne, I’m sorry,’ I reply, confident that I’ve made the right choice for me, my family and my bladder.

‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.’ Anne says, as she subconsciously claws back the Hob Nobs. ‘We’ll look for someone formally once we get that extension finished. I’m looking forward to finally having a staff toilet.’

The secret locum is a locum GP in England

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