Diary

More random items of questionable relevance from the PM team...

ROOTIN TOOTIN SHOOTIN Dental practice in the UK does come with its risks but thankfully these do not include patients packing loaded pistols. A 72-year-old man in Ohio is reported to have shot himself while being treated in a dental chair. He was under nitrous oxide sedation and thought he heard his mobile phone ring but reaching into his pocket grabbed his gun instead. The bullet went through his hand and grazed his stomach. Amazingly the man had a legal concealed carry permit although he may be charged with using a weapon while intoxicated. Sgt. Christina Evans-Fisher with the Clark County Sheriff's Office commented: “Going to a doctor's office where you might possibly be placed under some kind of medication that may alter your mental status at that point, you might not want to carry a weapon in there at that time.” Diary heartily agrees – and does not think having to make such a statement is crazy at all.

HOPING TO NEVER RETURN Diary has heard many tales in recent years of brave souls who have posted “hilarious” out-ofoffice email messages, but has never dared stray beyond a safe, functional alert. We could only dream of equalling the boldness of some of the employees whose comedy gold has featured in recent internet news feeds. The ill-advised notices include: “On holiday. Hoping to win the lottery and never return” and “I am away from the office right now. Unfortunately I will be back tomorrow.” The love-my-job theme continues with “I’ve run away to join a different circus”, while another cynic offers: “I am out of the office from dd/mm to dd/mm and will not be checking email. It’s likely your note will be swallowed in a sea of inbox banality, never to be seen again. If you require a response, please re-send your email after dd/mm.” And finally, winning the award for “most likely to backfire” must surely be: “I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.”

PASS THE PURPLE CRAYON Looking for realistic solutions to the problem of low GP morale and burnout? In September it was revealed that the RCGP is considering issuing members with “wellbeing” packs including a bag of chocolate coins, some teabags, a “mindfulness colouring book” and a “gratitude journal” for noting down all the things GPs can be grateful for in their lives. The packs are purported to be intended mainly for AiTs (Associates in Training) and Dr Duncan Shrewsbury, chair of the RCGP’s AiT Committee, said that the college is aware that this is not the only answer to the problems facing general practice and “in fact, this is clearly stated in the packs” – just in case you are not immediately swept away in a tide of warm well-being.

BASH BACK GP bashing has long been a cherished sport among certain tabloid and broadsheet newspapers – not to mention names (… Daily Mail). But recent statistics released by insurers 1st Central reveal that doctors do a fair bit of bashing on their own, albeit of a different kind. Analysis of accident claims in 2015 ranks doctors at number three on the list of worst drivers by profession – just behind solicitors and accountants. No doubt it’s with all that racing about in expensive high-powered cars bought with outrageous salaries…or so the trope goes, as opposed to doctors driving home while exhausted from overwork. So who are the safest drivers according to the analysis? Roofers top the list followed by farm workers and builders. Perhaps most worrying – number 10 on the worst list was train drivers.

CHEWING KALE Health experts have railed against the Department of Health’s “watered down” obesity strategy which asks the food and drinks industry to “work towards” lower sugar content in products. Hence the burden remains on healthcare professionals to encourage healthy eating among patients – including advice on avoiding fad diets. To this end the British Dietetic Association (BDA) compiles a yearly five worst celeb diets to avoid. Here below Diary offers a pocket countdown of 2016. Trim Secrets (5): buy capsules to take three-times daily along with a 1,500 calorie diet and regular exercise (or skip the pills and lose weight anyway). Super Elixir (4): powder bought at £96 per month to regulate your body’s acidity levels (or you could just eat a balanced diet with fruit and veg and trust your body to regulate acid balance naturally). Bulletproof diet (3): drink daily ‘Bulletproof coffee’, essentially black coffee with some added butter and MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil. Foods are classified in three categories – bulletproof, suspect or kryptonite – with rules on timing of meals. All-kale and chewing gum diet (2): that’s it really; just eat kale and chewing gum (and be in close proximity of a toilet). No sugar diet (1): tall order unless this means processed sugar (not fructose, lactose, etc). BDA says: “It’s not about a single food or nutrient, we advocate a whole diet approach.” So forget the Donut Diet.

WINTER IS COMING Rural Scotland needs GPs and the government has shown it is willing to pay. One hundred new GP training places were recently advertised and some with a £20,000 “Golden hello”. The one-off bursary will be paid for posts that have “not been filled recently” – many of these in isolated rural communities. Diary suggests that NHS Scotland could also enhance the offering with a bumper supply of vitamin D. Recently the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommended that everyone in the UK take 10 mg daily supplements in autumn and winter to protect bone, teeth and muscle health. Given that in mid-winter the sun barely breaks the horizon in some northern parts we feel it only fair to equip eager recruits. Sadly whisky is no substitute.