a positive post…because not absolutely everything about General Practice is bad

Conscious of having written too many negative blogs of late, here is a desperate attempt to be more positive! Just after midnight on New Year’s Day 2019, I posted a blog in which I stated that the job was becoming harder by the year, that bad times were unquestionably ahead and that during the next 12 months life would sometimes be difficult. I also predicted there would be times when, in the face of overwhelming demand, some of us would hold our head in our hands and wonder if we could keep on going. But the point of that blog was to suggest that, amidst all the very real problems, there would be good times too, some of which I listed. I thought it would be good, if even for just one day, to look forward to all those good things that the year would bring.

Nearly four years on, my prediction of how things would get worse was right but I hadn’t expected them to have worsened to the degree they have. But in an attempt to remind myself that there are still positive moments in general practice, here is my list of things that I was looking forward to on January 1st 2019, with a tick next to those that I have experienced this past year. I hope you can tick a good number too!

Here’s to the young couple who, consulted together, excited about their expecting a baby for the first time. ✅

Here’s to the anxious parent we were able to reassure that their child hasn’t got meningitis and is going to be just fine. ✅

Here’s to the depressed patient, who after months of support, we saw begin to smile again. ✅

Here’s to the early diagnosis we made in a patient who went on to make a full recovery. ✅

Here’s to that restorative cup of tea the receptionist brought when we were running an hour behind.✅

Here’s to the laughs we shared with colleagues – and to those we shared with patients.✅

Here’s to the advice and support we received from our secondary care colleagues.✅

Here’s to the blood sample which, allegedly, no one was able to get as well as we could. ✅

Here’s to the ‘thank you’ we received from a genuinely appreciative patient.✅

Here’s to the empty waiting room we were pleased to see at the end of the day.✅

Here’s to the practice nurse who managed our patients with chronic disease better than we ever could and who reapplied a dressing we’d just undone, and here’s to the HCA who squeezed in an ECG because they were only too happy to help.✅

Here’s to the patient we reassured wasn’t ias mad as they thought they were. ✅

Here’s to the prescription we wrote that the pharmacy had in stock and which actually did make our patient better.✅

Here’s to the patient we encouraged back to work.✅

Here’s to the couple who, for want of knowing where else to go, did us the honour of coming to see us because they thought we might just be able to help them sort out their differences.[Not this year for me]

Here’s to the practice manager who solved problems before we even knew they existed.
Here’s to the patient who will not have a stroke because of our urging them to stop smoking twenty years ago. [Not possible to say for sure – but perhaps ✅ ✅ ✅

Here’s to the patient who we were able to tell that the scan that they were so concerned about was normal. ✅

Here’s to the lonely who found in us a friend.✅

Here’s to the colleague who helped us out when we were struggling.✅✅✅

Here’s to the terminal patient we enabled to stay at home to die.✅

Here’s to the secretary who transformed our mumbled dictation into a letter that made sense and who understood referral pathways however many times they changed. ✅

Here’s to the prompt emergency treatment we gave ensuring a patient arrived safely at hospital. [Can’t recall a particular instance of this for me this year]

Here’s to the one with whom we simply sat and listened – the one whom we were privileged to be allowed, just a little, into their sadness.✅

Here’s to those who passed their CSA and welcomed welcomed into the practice with open arms.

Here’s to those who, at the end of a hugely worthwhile career characterised by care and compassion, reached retirement and were sorely missed.✅ ✅

Here’s to those times when we somehow found ourselves bringing comfort, offering hope, and sharing joy.✅

Here’s to the times we will knew that, against all the odds, we really made a positive difference.✅

Here’s to when we were glad we did a little more than was required of us just because we could.✅

Here’s to the job that is unlike any other and still has the capacity to be among the best in the world. [Sadly I fear this may no longer be the case]

I’m well aware there is a much longer list that could also be written of what is bad in general practice, but, as we approach what is likely to be a very hard winter, perhaps it’s still worth reflecting that there are still positives

I at least need to be reminded of this. Because not absolutely everything about General Practice is bad.


To read my original post, ‘Here’s to 2019’, click here

Related blogs regarding the difficulties with the NHS:

To read ‘On being overwhelmed’, click here

To read ‘I’ll miss this when we’re gone’, click here

To read ‘General Practice – still a sweet sorrow’, click here

To read ‘General Practice – is time running out?’, click here

Other tales of former Secretaries of State for Health’

To read ‘GPs are responsible – it’s time they went’, lick here

To read ‘At last…an explanation’, click here

To read ‘The Three Little GPs and the Big Bad Secretary of State for Health’, click here

And some more unlikely stories of GP life:

To read ‘Dr Jonathan Harker and the post evening surgery home visit’, click here

To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here

To read ‘A GP called Paddington’, click here

To read ‘Scooby Doo and the Deserted Medical Centre’, click here

To read ‘Bagpuss and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘A Dream of an Antiques Roadshow’, click here

To read ‘The NHS Emporium’, click here

To read ‘Mr McGregor’s Revenge – A Tale of Peter Rabbit’, click here

To read ‘Jeepy Leepy and the NHS’, click here

To read ‘Dr Wordle and the Mystery Diagnosis’, click here

To read ‘The Happy Practice – A Cautionary Tale’, click here

To read ‘The Scrooge Chronicles’, click here

To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here

To read ‘General Practices are Go!’, click here

To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here

To read ‘A Grimm Tale’, click here

To read ‘The General Practitioner – Endangered’, click here

To read ‘The State of Disrepair Shop’, click here

One response to “a positive post…because not absolutely everything about General Practice is bad”

  1. Yes have had similar thoughts in the past but last worked aged 62 and that’s many years ago !

    Liked by 1 person

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