Monday, 24 September 2012

The Role of GPs

I promise I do more at weekends than just read The Times, but I would be lying if I said it wasn't a key feature of a Saturday morning!

On the 15th September, Matthew Parris questioned the role of GPs after spending some time shadowing them. He titles his article "GPs will soothe you , but won't really cure you" - quite provocative but delving deeper the article had some interesting points.

"Easily the principle cause of so many of the problems patients brought to the surgery lay in the mind, not the body. Loneliness, isolation, anxiety, stress, breakdown and mental: these are what ailed the weeping woman, they hypertense young man, the fellow worried sick about snoring or the last with shaking hands."

"what makes a family doctor indispensable is local knowledge, local involvement, long service in the same community, the kind of continuity that helps you to know your patients as people and families, and the pastoral, counselling and psychiatric skills that count for as much as medical expertise."

I agree with the description of the profession Parris gave, and the fact that he identified the emotional backdrop to these conditions. Isn't soothing what we often crave?! A little human reassurance is the only option when there is no cure. Often GPs have little option it to "just soothe you", but if they do achieve soothing, that is an achievement and a mark of a very good GP! Don't loose the importance of emotional support in the midst of medical and scientific technology, diagnosis and treatment!

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