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by Our GP partner in practice
19 January 2009

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Smoking rates spark a light in arctic conditions

Happy New Year to everyone! I wonder what 2009 will bring? My crystal ball is a bit misty at the moment, but I think I can see further pressure to open GP surgeries outside the extended hours we already offer. I see patient surveys in my sleep at the moment, so I guess we’ll all be seeing many more, until the right answer is found. Not sure whether right is right or right is wrong, but I’m sure those who matter will spin the answers in their preferred way.

We’ve finally embraced Choose and Book. l wonder if we’re the last GP surgery to do this. I received my training from a very informative lady from the PCT. She assured us that Choose and Book and the NHS spine were not mutually accessed with our cards, and that the NHS IT support and networks are among the most secure in the world. This provoked some discussion. I suggested that one of us drive down to Exeter and check the roundabout where the DVLA/MOD/Pensions Agency information was found.

Lethargy has largely been an excuse for our late entry into Choose and Book (although not a good excuse, let’s face it). Our patients have not been advantaged by our lethargy, but now we’re enthusiastic converts to Choose and Book. Having said that, my card doesn’t seem to work at the moment. Still, that keeps my referral data down, as one of my partners is allowing me to use theirs. I’m sure someone’s watching!

Our first away day has passed already this year. We’ve taken to having these at one of our houses, with the partners and practice manager in attendance. Our practice manager keeps us in order, tries valiantly to translate our waffle into action points and generally tells me off for talking too much. I know it’s a terrible habit, but I do think the electrodes attached to my seat were out of proportion to the crime.

Our smoking cessation rates are down and the PCT is on our backs. Don’t they know there’s a credit crunch? Let’s face it, smoking may be the only relief for some. That almost sounds like I’m advocating smoking. I’m not, l just think quit rates down from 60% to 40% are disappointing but understandable. Even I’ve been tempted to smoke, just to see how much I could save if I started then stopped. I guess the logic may be slightly flawed, but with the savings I could go on holiday or buy another car.

Speaking of which, my car has taken to letting all the windows down when I press the central locking button on the remote control. It was funny until the weather turned wintery. Now the joke’s on me as I return to my car in arctic conditions and spray myself with deicer so that I don’t freeze.