In defence of GPs

‘GPs – hardly do any time in surgery, they’re always  on the golf course, no wonder you can never get an appointment’. Sound familiar?  Sorry to disappointment, but it’s far from the truth.

Because I’ve chosen to take on the role of Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, I’m only in practice two days a week and my partners have agreed to take on another colleague to cover for me. But here’s a quick run down of my two days in my Practice this week:

Monday

  • Seeing patients in surgery from 8am til about 10.30am
  • Home visits
  • Practice meeting
  • (Lunch on the hoof)
  • Afternoon surgery
  • Evening surgery until 8pm (most GP practices are open from 8am to 8pm every day)

Extra daily tasks include: fitting in of extra appointments (we see all patients who need or want to be seen that day outside normal surgery times); reviewing patients’ test results; signing prescriptions; admin stuff e.g. insurance reports; answering emails;  reading post all squeezed in between other diary items!

Tuesday looked like this:

  • In surgery from 8am to 10.30am
  • Home visits
  • Pharmacy meeting (the pharmacy next door is managed by the practice)
  • A multi disciplinary team meeting with the practice nurses, Macmillan nurses and community matrons about our patients and the services we deliver close to home
  • Practice staff meeting
  • Fire safety training
  • Any Qualified Provider evaluations (27 of them) for the MRI and Ultrasound services we want to introduce in our practice
  • Public meeting at 7pm in Cleckheaton about the plans for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals

(I managed to grab my evening meal at 9.45pm and was up until 1am reading business emails).

I’m highlighting this, not because I’m looking for any sympathy votes (though I think my wife and family may deserve some!) but simply to try to show what daily reality is like for most GPs. Patients are our priority, but providing good quality care entails so much more than being face to face in a surgery.

But yes, I do enjoy a round of golf when I manage to fit one in…!

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