Diary Issue 09

  • Date: 06 October 2014

TRAIN THREATENS FUTURE OF MEDICINE While environmental campaigners protest over the potential threat to the countryside, the RCGP has lodged its own rather dramatic objection to the proposed High Speed 2 rail link. The College fears the £50 billion scheme could have “a detrimental impact for the future delivery of general practice and primary care throughout the UK”. The source of their concern is the potential noise and disturbance from construction work that will take place near their new Euston HQ where GP trainees currently enjoy peace and quiet during exams. “Were the examinations not able to run due to the disturbance caused by HS2 this would mean that the UK would be deprived of thousands of new GPs each year,” treasurer Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard told Pulse. She also fears the College could be evicted from the newly refurbished building unless “adequate compensation and mitigation measures” are put in place.

GOOGLE SAVED MY LIFE Who needs GPs when you have the world’s favourite internet search engine to rely on? A recent report in (where else but) the Daily Mail told the story of two women who claimed the web had saved their lives in the face of alleged indiff erence from their doctors. One patient’s symptoms research helped her reach a breast cancer diagnosis while the other discovered she had oral cancer after trawling the web. The report went on to quote a UK survey from earlier this year suggesting 21 per cent of patients trusted Google above their GP while 27 per cent said they relied “entirely on Google for a diagnosis”. Well at least that solves the GP recruitment crisis…

JUSTIN BIEBER SAVED MY LIFE The headlines just get increasingly unlikely… He may not be much of a role model for young drivers, but Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is being credited with helping to bring down skin cancer rates. It seems many of his millions of fans have been emulating their idol by growing a fringe. The hairstyle has been particularly popular amongst pale-skinned youngsters who were found to have fewer forehead freckles. US dermatologists say the hirsute covering shields the skin, reducing potential sun damage.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Ten years’ worth of frustration to one angry doctor. An Essex GP recently applied to change his name by deed poll to Dr John Cormack-the-Family-Doctor-who-works-for-the-NHS-for-free. This was done in protest at serious underfunding from his local CCG. The GP who runs a practice of 4,000 patients has been reduced to paying his staff – four nurses and a part-time locum – from his own pension fund and claims that in 2011/12 the cleaner earned more than he did from the practice. Ten years of unfruitful negotiation with representatives of his LMC and former PCT drove him to this fi nal desperate act. Dr Cormack-the-Family-Doctor-who-works-for-the-NHS-for-free is now in the process of registering his change of name with the GMC and Mid Essex CCG.

SHAPE UP, DOC Overweight doctors and nurses should be told to slim down to set a good example to patients. That’s the view of NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens who said NHS staff should “get our act together” before offering healthy living advice to patients. Suggestions for achieving the goal include encouraging healthcare professionals to take part in weight loss competitions and building more gyms. A newspaper report suggests as many as 700,000 of the 1.3 million health service staff are either overweight or obese.

RISK ON THE ROAD Healthcare workers are apparently among the most accident-prone motorists on the road. Research from gocompare.com has found that GPs made proportionately more car insurance claims than many other professions last year. Figures show 28.6 per cent of GPs had at least one claim in 2013. Professor Andrew Smith from Cardiff University’s school of psychology believes the stress of the job could be making them absent-minded and distracted, adding: “You might even find that [stress makes you] become especially clumsy at times.” Health visitors and community nurses were also in the top 10 list of claims. Gocompare.com recommends stressed-out drivers are encouraged to take time to calm down before getting behind the wheel. Sage advice, although there doesn’t seem to be any data on the relationship between GP car insurance claims and the number of home visits doctors make to those less salubrious areas.

NOW YOU SEE HIM… Most retiring GPs slip quietly away with a few buns at coff ee time or maybe staff drinks at the local pub. Patients are often none the wiser. Not so with Dr Richard Hughes who retired in April at age 60 from Hanway Medical Practice in Portsmouth. Patients queued for four hours to thank the GP in person for his 32 years’ of service. Practice manager Denise Fenton said that Dr Hughes was so dedicated that he would sometimes call worried patients at 10pm to give them test results. “He knew most patients by name, made them feel valued and treated them as individuals.” A much splashier exit was planned by Dr Ajay Vora for his retirement from Barnetby Medical Centre after 25 years. Dr Vora put on a show at Grimsby Auditorium for over 1,000 of his patients with magic, music and dance. The doctor, who is member of the Magic Circle, performed along with his wife and practice nurse Angela. Dr Vora said: “We wanted to let everyone have an invitation to thank them personally and wave goodbye from the stage.” Diary prefers buns.

From GPST Issue 09, p 15

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