The GP explained how he would see one patient every five minutes, all day. Many have infectious diseases but the burden of chronic conditions is growing. He loves his work, and his patients love him, most affording the flat fee of a few rupees, some free at his discretion.
In the brief lull between election and business as usual I wanted to reflect on how general practice inspires.
That was India in 2013, a far cry from the angst-ridden tales of US primary care described in “How Doctors Think” by Jerome Groopman MD (2007). One writes “The superhuman demands of our specialty have either morphed us into steely-eyed combatants or reduced us to blithering, overwhelmed, white-coated blobs of jelly.”
Yet, “A good physician learns how to manage time. Symptoms that are straightforward can be accurately defined and explained to a patient… within a 20 minute visit”.
I hear the hollow laughs from British GPs. But much of that time is devoted to ensuring the correct billing codes are entered.
Which way do you want to look, up or down? It’s accepted that in the US, family physicians are looked down on by millionaire specialists, but Groopman admits, “I have come to believe that the most difficult type of doctoring is primary care.”
I have a hunch that this is what will entice young doctors into general practice, not the continual moaning from some parties, nor the bungs offered by others. From a UK perspective, see the excellent TEDx talk by Dr Ayan Panja “The power of generalism“.
Whoever won the election was going to struggle to meet their promises. We can carp, or we can get on with doing what politicians find so difficult, making the NHS more effective and more efficient.
Founder, Chief Executive
GP Access Ltd