Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

Should patients be heard but not seen?

Dealing as I do with GPs week after week I admit to a twinge of envy that I will never personally be able to help a patient as a doctor, while they get the privilege every day.

But we get a little something from the feedback patients leave on askmyGP, and I wanted to share with you everything that’s come in the last 24 hours.  Each one carries a story, and they are typical of recurring themes over the last two years.

They range from the simple, for which I’m grateful:

“Excellent facility.” male 54

to the more specific:

“Well structured questions to analyse symptoms etc.”  male 62, sciatica

solving a real problem for many stressed parents:

“Much better as can use at any time and also don’t have 2 keep trying 2 get through on the phone in the morning”   Parent of  3 year old, earache

and towards the other end of a lifespan, relief about the:

“Option for relatives of elderly patients.”  on behalf of a 96 year old

Improving access without increasing surgery hours, and the importance of rapid response:

“This system worked well for us the first time we used it. We emailed out of hours but got a fast response as soon as the surgery opened.”  male 81

Lastly something rather special, helping the clinical encounter itself by changing the channel:

“I get nervous talking about personal matters – this way the Dr can see what they are dealing with prior to speaking with me”  female 44.

Perhaps we have shared in the privilege of helping this unknown lady.  Being able to reflect and write down the problem is quite a common theme.  There is lots of patient engagement online with 15% leaving feedback, over 5,600 items so far and we keep a running summary here.

The desire to help one another runs deep in the human psyche, and I think that is why, above all the cacophony of crisis, the long term studies of job satisfaction always feature GPs near the top.

Don’t talk yourselves down, and don’t dwell on the latest “GP-as-victim” blog in the columns of Pulse.  Margaret McCartney writes powerfully in this week’s BMJ on the intrinsic value of long term relationships which GPs enjoy with their patients, unique not only among the professions but specific to general practitioners.

Treasure it, enjoy it, guard it.

Very best,

Harry Longman

PS Many more have enquired since last week about how to get Resilience funding for their practice to improve service and workload.  We are doing our best but it seems time is tight, so please get in touch soonest.

PPS I’m a big fan of Julian Patterson’s NHS Networks blog and this week’s consultation on STPs is a must.  Light up a grey day!

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