I’m writing this blog in response to an online article entitled ‘A day in the life of a GP doctor’ I read a few days ago. Clearly, as with many such articles, one suspects that an element of poetic license is involved. That being said, it’s not difficult to empathise with the author and the content goes some way to explaining the poor morale and overall problems within NHS general practice.
I wake early, usually between 5.30-6am. Years of nightshift work, and a moderately noisy Serama cockerel in the garden, have altered my sleep pattern, but the early start gives me chance to catch up on e-mail correspondence (and post the odd Tweet or two!). There’s a new client enquiry to respond to, someone who lives slightly outside our published catchment area. Is that a problem? Of course not. We’re aiming to provide 24hr personalised care, so a few miles here or there is immaterial. There are a couple of blood results which came in late last night which need to be forwarded to our clients. And there’s a charming e-mail from a GP who is potentially interested in leaving NHS work to join Concierge Medical Practice.
My first visit of the day is scheduled for 9am in Bourton on the Water and there are no new visit requests as of yet today. Given that I’m up and dressed that gives me a perfect excuse to head to Fergal O’Brien’s yard near Northleach to watch the horses gallop (particularly the spectacularly handsome Nervous Nineties. Watch this space for further news on his development).
The Bourton visit is a follow-up call to ensure that treatment we commenced yesterday was having the desired effect. I was already pretty confident that this would be the case as I’d telephoned the patient late yesterday evening. Thankfully, the client felt much improved and we discussed a few other matters (medical and non-medical) over a cuppa, prior to heading off at around 10am. Following this, there’s a quick trip down to Lower Swell to take blood for an annual check-up before driving up to beautiful Chipping Campden where I have two visits scheduled.
The two visits go well. A potential new client has decided that Concierge medicine is perfect for her ongoing health issues and lifestyle and has signed up to join our practice. She has endured a number of unnecessary hospital admissions recently and is keen to avoid this in future. Our 24hr availability and familiarity with her illness will help achieve this. The second visit, to an existing client, requires me to refer them onwards to see a specialist. We discuss where the most convenient location for this should be and we decide on The Manor hospital in Oxford. A quick phonecall confirms that the appointment will be two days from now (I’ll write and fax the referral letter once I’m back home this evening).
I’m now free to have a wander through Chipping Campden and enjoy a spot of lunch. What’s great is that I bump into a number of local business people who have been instrumental in helping us get Concierge Medical Practice off the ground in the Cotswolds. Whilst eating (in the Campden Coffee Company) I receive a SMS message from our receptionist. There’s an unregistered client in Broadway who is struggling to get a doctor to call and wonders if we can help. A quick call back confirms that we can so, within 40 minutes of the original contact, I’m knocking on the front door.
I’m back home in plenty of time to catch up with incoming e-mails. One of those is from a mother who is concerned that meningitis B vaccines are not available on the NHS. Can we administer them to her children? Yes, of course. I’m finished responding in time to do the school run. I get to have an evening meal with my family and put my feet up and relax. At 10pm the on-call phone rings. It’s a client in Stratford with a query about her infant daughter. I’m happy to head out and visit but am able to provide enough reassurance on the phone and the client declines my offer. We’ll speak again in the morning (sooner if the situation deteriorates in the interim) and will probably pop round if any concerns persist.
And that’s my day. Is it typical? Sort of. Our workload ebbs and flows a little. Were our clients happy? Absolutely. It’s clear, now we’ve made the switch to Concierge medicine, that clients want a personal touch and abundant time with the doctor. We can offer that. Is the doctor happy? Undoubtedly, and definitely much happier than my NHS colleagues.
If you’re interested in hearing how a private GP can benefit you in the Cotswolds, Stratford Upon Avon, Cheltenham etc, give us a call on 01451 600900. We’re happy to call back or visit you at home to discuss your individual requirements.