i'm away til 6 April, so don't send messages
Dr Healy Retirement
We have distributed her patients to the remaining partners alphabetically. We were unable to find a replacement because of the shortage of GPs. We have Personal Lists which is known to work best because patients get to know their doctor and doctor gets to know their patient, even if they can't remember every single thing about them. If those patients have a particular preference and found they got on with a particular doctor better, they can write a little note & be switched over. Just as doctors will sometimes ask patients to get a second opinion from another GP at the practice, or even try seeing them for a while, to see if the patient is happier with that doctor. Patient always comes first. Overall, we try to keep the number of patients between doctors equal, so as to cope.
The website has become a little cluttered with all the new information this year, and things are constantly changing. But if you compare with other local practices, you will find much more detailed advice here. We don't have the manpower and skills and budgets of large advertising firms! It's mostly myself who adds information.
so I've been given my own page to update my own patients. The views of the other GP's aren't always the same as my own & we work in different ways.
I will be unfamiliar with my new patients transferred over from Dr Healy, and i need to outline the information i need to be able to help patients help themselves. Doctors don't cure patients: they give them medical advice so that patients can make their own informed decisions & take responsibility for those decisions. I always respect patients decisions even if i think it's unwise, as long as they've listened & are willing to review that decision.
Up to date mobile numbers & emails. I will often text, as it's quicker & provides a written reminder of my advice.
For older patients, if they don't text, i'll also need the mobile number of a smartphone of an adult child next of kin, and consent to send them personal medical information, because i'll text internet links and letters.
When things go wrong, it's generally down to poor communication, or patients forgetting even if they've understood.
Also, I'll send brief questionnaires about social situation/carers, next of kin, which will be invaluable in helping me help older patients.
On the medical record, there is a Summary, so that I can see your important medical conditions at a glance: in the very short time we have, a good summary may make the difference between life & death when helping you make important decisions about your health, under time pressure. You can imagine that for most patients there are pages and pages of consultations & hundreds of hospital letters, so a good Summary is essential. I've managed to summarise my own patients to a maximum of 10 major problems, and this is what i hope to achieve with my patients coming over from Dr. Healy. Of course, i'll need your help when we first speak.
We are relying on Locum doctors to fill in until we find someone permanent, hopefully by April. Staff are asked to book patients with them (as we are overwhelmed). If our patients need to speak to their own doctor about a long term condition, then of course staff will book a telephone consult, but you may need to wait up to 2 weeks (which is average these days in all practices).
Demand is very high: GP's are getting 40-50 calls per day. There simply isn't the time to consult as we used to. We are coping by trying to be as efficient as possible. We ring you according to how urgent we feel the reason you gave the staff. Receptionists will often pass your query to our nursing team or in-house experienced pharmacist.
I will often start by texting to get more information: some things can be dealt with by texting. If you're unable to text back or prefer talking, just ring reception back, and i'll try ringing later when i get some time.
Sometimes, VIDEO consultations are very helpful. Lots of examinations can be achieved by instructing you and your partner on video. Some patients don't seem to be able to manage the official video method, and will be happy to accept the small risk of WhatsApp.
If an examination is necessary, i'll arrange a visit to the surgery, making sure there's not more than 2 people in the waiting room. Timing in surgery is essential, so if we don't have time to finish talking, we can do so later by telephone.
Examinations: i prefer to examine, it gives a much better assessment. But it's balancing the risk of spreading covid to you, from you to other patients and to myself! I already caught Covid in March from a patient, and was ill enough to have to go to hospital! I'll have mask, visor, apron (gloves if you prefer), door open, fan on.
I've trained & educated my patients over 25years to take some responsibility for their health. They should have a thermometer, Blood pressure machine & Pulse Oximeter (if on BP meds or over 65). I can't do everything for you! I expect you to manage your long term conditions, with written care plans, and take responsibility for timing of monitoring blood tests. I give advice, and your responsible for following it, or making an informed decision to choose not to. An informed decision it not based on misinformation gathered on facebook.
REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS of Patients
this is a communication from our Medical Union:
"We are concerned that inappropriate expectations of general practice from the public, stirred up by negative media messaging,
is being fuelled by the oft-repeated "Business As Usual" mantra,
and the focus on the need to return to economic normality sooner rather than later.
The resulting conflict and disconnection from the realities of the pandemic is undermining confidence and trust amongst some patients,
and morale and resilience amongst some practitioners"
What you can reasonably expect from me, during these difficult times:
1-Immediate access. Where some surgeries are offering 2week tel appointments
2-Efficiency: it's the only way I can deal with such a large demand in a timely manner.
This means we need to communicate quickly & thoroughly, and I need you to take more responsibility for looking things up & for changing your health. I don't provide cures, just medical advice. Which you can choose to take or leave.
Instant access means that not everything needs to be sorted in the few minutes we have: we can try things & speak the next day.
3- Disinterest if moan about how long everything is taking at the hospital. I can do nothing about it, and your transferring your negative baggage to me only wears me down and affects other patients too. I can understand that you're all frustrated. I am too. But any drama, and I'm obliged to cut the consultation short so that you can speak to me the next day. I'm literally doing 12hour days, which can be evidenced, at high speed & every minute counts.
Some patients get very upset & complain when the doctor has a different point of view to them. Maybe they are the sort of patients who jump up and down in M&S for a refund, and no one tells them that this is wrong, which just reinforces their childish behaviour.
I'm human: for me to remain interested & compassionate in your health, there needs to be professional respect from both sides.
If I rush you during our precious few minutes, it's because I also have the responsibility & Duty of Care to help other patients.
Ultimately, the GP's have different consulting styles & if you wish to try one of my learned colleagues, it's no problem. What's most important is that you remain healthy, and secondly that you're 'satisfied'.
please scroll down to the specific Number that I've directed you to.
Note: if the advice isn't working, or making things worse, please ring me!
1 MUSCLE & SKELETON
if we suspect a muscle or ligament problem, there are a few websites with information on how to cure it with self physio. You may not remember spraining it, or it might be an overuse injury (Repetitive Strain). Basically the treatment is:
Rest that part of the body & ice/heat pack.
Take a 2week course of anti inflammatory tablets
Take Analgesic PainKillers only when you need them
Do specific exercises to rehab that particular muscle/tendon/ligament
Only very occasionally do you need to self refer to Musculoskeletal Clinic for consideration of injection or operation (which may have complications!)