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by Our GP partner in practice
17 August 2007

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From Wales to wails – the challenges of August

We’re pleased to launch the first in a series of “blogs” from our undercover GP partner, whose identity must remain secret! Over the next few months, he’ll be sharing his perspective of helping to run a large practice …

Well, I’ve been away on our annual family holiday with our brood of children, in wet Wales. It was a nice change of scenery, but now I’m back in the surgery and raring to go (on holiday again)!

My first day back was a wade through internal and external emails. There’s a perverse kind of symmetry: 63 internal and 62 external unopened mails. The internal ones listed new surgical triage services, the arrival of new receptionists and dates for away days. The external ones were mostly spam!

We’ve made an electronic “advance” while I’ve been away. After several months of deliberation, “toing and froing” between our IT leads, the PCT and software distributors, we’ve finally taken the plunge and now have an electronic document management system.

My only reservations so far are:

  • I have no password.
  • The scanned text is so small that l will have to wear my glasses (these are fondly referred to at home as “Daddy’s football glasses”, and are only worn when there is an extreme need).

I’ll reserve my judgement on the system for the time being.

One of the main problems at surgery during this first week back was that EMIS crashed and wouldn’t be rebooted. Twenty-four hours of worried looks and frantic phone calls ensued! I wandered the deserted corridors (we’re not talking Hogwarts). There were no sounds of keyboards being hammered – all I could discern was the sound of bic on paper! 

While I’ve been away, my Choose and Book card has been updated. I’m not sure what this means yet! Many of our more local hospitals still operate indirectly bookable outpatients – perhaps they’ll be directly bookable now! Maybe this will mean l spend an extra five minutes during the consultation, working out whether 3.45pm on Thursday 30 August is “good for you”!

The challenges of August (other than getting my car through its MOT) are balancing the annual leave, keeping an eye on the QOF and meeting the new GP registrars. Thankfully, two of the registrars are doing the old MRCGP. Fortunately the registrar undertaking the fiasco that is the nMRCGP is innovative, and this will hopefully be sorted out by the time he’s ready to embrace it fully!

My main aims over the next 2–3 weeks are to devise a palliative care protocol for our surgery. Our End of Life coordinator presented the PCT’s “Care of the Dying Patient” protocol, which gave rather odd instructions to practitioners, typified by a flow chart that began: “Is your patient in pain? If yes, consider Morphine. If no, consider Morphine!”

Suffice to say, the consensus was that we needed our own!

The other development that we’re looking at is a possible travel clinic. At present we offer vaccinations and provide private  prescriptions for Malarone and other antimalarial medication. We’re exploring the possibility of dispensing Malarone and cutting out the private prescriptions that at present are taken to a local pharmacist.

So plenty to occupy those endless “empty hours” – if only they were!

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