THE GENERAL PRACTITIONER
First introduced in 1911, General Practitioners rapidly became indigenous across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland following the establishment of the NHS in 1948. They have been considered ideally positioned for pretty much everything ever since.
Although commonly found walking the aisles of the local supermarket during late night shopping hours or overseeing the secondhand book stall at the school summer fête, the principal habitat of the GP is the medical centre. Leaving their burrows and making their way to their consulting rooms an hour or two before dawn they typically remain at their desks until long after dusk. During the middle part of the day, however, they will often venture out and be found in peoples homes, instinctively drawn there by their desire to help the most frail and infirm. Whereas once they could be encouraged to prolong their visits by being proffered cups of tea and pieces of cake, GPs have latterly found it unsettling to leave their medical centres for longer than strictly necessary, preferring instead to return to deal with the countless phone calls that will have come into the medical centre whilst they’ve been away, determining which will require a face to face appointment and then working out how they are to be squeezed into that afternoon’s already busy schedule.
GPs come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and vary greatly in the extent to which they employ displays of colour to stand out from their otherwise often drab surroundings. Early in the morning some GPs can be seen clad in brightly coloured lycra riding their high spec bicycles. A more portly subspecies of the genus can be identified by the threadbare jumpers that they wear and the way that they gasp and wheeze as they make the short walk from their car to the back door of the practice building. The characteristic call of the GP is however universal and consists of a high pitched wail often heard alongside the sound of somebody banging their head against a brick wall. Under extreme pressure, such as might be the case when having to deal with a global pandemic, most GPs will revert to a plumage made up entirely of blue. This makes them entirely indistinguishable from one another especially given the obligatory blue latex gloves and surgical face masks that are also worn at such times.
Though at times they are active at night, GPs have a principally diurnal existence. They are both industrious and highly pragmatic creatures that are, by nature, capable of dealing with the wide range of problems that are presented to them with a combination of ingenuity and patience. They are easily startled when approached aggressively but if treated gently are by and large amiable souls who will generally try to help those who come to them in some kind of need with a degree of kindness and compassion. Reports of adverse events following GP encounters are mercifully low, with comparable patient mortality rates being recorded irrespective of the gender of the GP encountered thus giving the lie to Kipling’s assertion that ‘the female of the species is more deadly than the male’.
By day GPs are largely dependent on the coffee and custard creams brought to them by kindly receptionists at designated feeding times. In addition they will sometimes forage for additional foodstuffs in the practice’s kitchen area. In contrast, at weekends GPs confine themselves to the consumption of orzo and fennel along with any other ingredients that may have been mentioned in the Ottolenghi recipe they stumbled across in that Saturday’s edition of The Guardian.
GPs are hermaphrodites with both male and female GPs being able to bring forth young GPs. The parent GP then takes on the responsibility for the nurturing of their offspring with the fledgling GP typically remaining under their wing for the first year of his or her GP life. During these formative months they are encouraged to act increasingly independently by being asked to take on the most complex of home visits solely because they have been identified by the parent GP as those which will afford ‘the most excellent training opportunities’. Having demonstrated the skills necessary to survive on their own, the young GP then leaves the safety of the training nest to join a separate colony of GPs with whom they will spend the rest of their adult life.
In recent years GP numbers have been in decline. Whereas once the GP could be expected to survive well into their 60s, the increasingly hostile climate means that few now achieve this degree of longevity having previously either drowned under the excessive workload or, alternatively, killed themselves trying to deliver the impossible. Furthermore, many younger GPs are now considering a change of career with many looking at retraining as HGV drivers seeing the delivery of fuel and other essential items as a more sure way of fulfilling their childhood dreams of wanting to help people. Matters have been made worse with the proliferation of attacks on GPs by a new predator that has recently emerged. These Journalists (Reporteramus deceptionus) are employed by national newspaper editors who love nothing more than having a GP headline displayed on the front page of their daily periodicals. Sadly, calls to introduce legislation to ban the hounding down of GPs have fallen on deaf ears with many to whom such calls have been made enjoying taking part in a spot of GP baiting themselves. In recent years the government has pledged to increase GP numbers by releasing thousands more into the community but as yet this boost to the GP population has not materialised.
SURVIVAL STATUS: ENDANGERED
To read ‘Professor Ian Aird – A Time To Die?’, click here
To read ‘What Price Resilience?’, click here
To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here
To read ‘The Dr Scrooge Chronicles’, click here
To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here
To read ‘Reintroducing GPs Anonymous’, click here.
To read ‘My Back Pages’, click here
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