Everyday Life is the Path

‘Everyday life is the path’: about 30 years ago I came across this phrase in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, compiled by Paul Reps.

I have decided to try to write brief, daily (or almost daily) posts about what happens in my primary care day.

Friday is my day off. But I have been coming into work on Fridays since 2006 when we switched to a new computer system and I started coming in on Fridays in order to do the extra work involved in making the transition.

This morning I did some desk work and then went to a sheltered accommodation block in order to take blood from one patient I had seen earlier in the week, and in order to review another patient in the same block. While I was there, the ‘scheme manager’ (previously called the ‘warden’) asked me to see another of our patients. And we spoke about another who concerned her.

And then she said how much she appreciated the service our practice provided. I thanked her for her positive feedback, and said we were doing our job. Then she said that all the negative press about the NHS and GPs really frustrated her.

Earlier this morning I had seen a post by Roy Lilley, which I would recommend. He has been attending the Nuffield Trust summit on the question ‘Is the NHS Fit for Purpose’.

Walking back to the surgery I daydreamed: ‘Is the Department of Health fit for purpose? Are the Health Ministers fit for purpose? Is a methodology that involves (willful) ignorance, misrepresentation, PR, and lies a methodology that is “fit for purpose”?’ And I was thinking of this.

A thought: if you want health professionals to do a good job, it is important that they feel positive, that they feel proud about what they do. And they need enough time to do the job. (And a few other ingredients: I’m not listing them all tonight).

Further work today: teaching medical students, seeing patients. Now it is 8pm on my day off and I am going on 2 more visits, both in another home, with higher dependency.

One comment on my particular issue, that of GP practice boundaries which the DH and Government want to abolish: I was able to see three patients this morning quite efficiently, in the same block. I got there on foot. Tonight I am seeing 2 patients at essentially the same address. I will ride my bike to get there, on my way home. These two homes are within our practice geographical area, within reach of the practice. Without a limited geographical area we would not be able to visit these patients efficiently, or at all.

What would the scheme manager say then?

(this was a bit longer than I had intended)

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