Viewpoint: Why I'm Choosing General Practice: Sally Aziz

It is 8:30am by the time I have navigated through the Monday morning bustle and arrive at the GP surgery, purposefully positioned in the centre of this convivial village.

Sally Aziz: 'The GP holds a crucial responsibility to sieve the life threatening, from the self-limiting illnesses.'
Sally Aziz: 'The GP holds a crucial responsibility to sieve the life threatening, from the self-limiting illnesses.'

The receptionist blithely welcomes me and proceeds to show me the way to the doctor’s office, as we exchange morning greetings with other members of staff on the way.  I experience a mental sign of relief, finally a welcomed change from the clinical tower blocks, which had accepted me so impersonally over the past weeks.

The morning harbours a surge of young coughs, colds and runny noses, along with the challenge of settling crying babies, and the even bigger challenge of settling worried mums. Next through the door comes a toddler clinging onto her father’s neck. I can see the GP growing more concerned as the bright light seems to trouble her; she has high temperature and a rash. Instantaneously, penicillin is administered and soon after an ambulance siren can be heard outside. This is a job that requires rapid assessment, recognition and management. The GP holds a crucial responsibility to sieve the life threatening, from the self-limiting illnesses.

To hold this position in the deliverance of healthcare, can only be described as a privilege

Before we know it, it’s time for home visits and we leave the surgery, equipped with the doctor’s bag in hand. We arrive at a quaint cottage, and an elderly lady shows us to her husband, who is undergoing palliative care at home. The GP reviews his analgesia and arranges for community support; it’s clear his wife is struggling to care for him alone. A GP may not always be able to save lives; instead he is able to improve the quality of life, and in this case, ensure a comfortable end to life. This is important in the community as the GP upholds a core NHS value; to enable universal access to healthcare, including those who are unable to attend services.

We arrive back at the surgery, and the GP takes a phone call regarding the commissioning of healthcare services.  Working in general practice, gives you a chance to become receptive to the unique healthcare needs of the local community and to tailor service provision to meet these needs.

The last patient to see this afternoon is a 16-year-old girl. Her mother is becoming increasingly worried about her daughter’s unexplained vomiting. The GP explains he will need to examine her, and with a chaperone he takes her into a side examination room. The teenage girl avoids eye contact; she seems uncomfortable. Sensing this, the GP reassures her that they can speak in confidence. He enquires if there is a chance she could be pregnant. She pauses, then responds ‘yes’ and explains that her mother doesn’t know. At that moment, I could see what it means to be a GP. Embedded in every community, a GP creates a safe place for patients, whatever the age, gender or circumstance, to share their problems and build a rapport based on confidentiality and trust. To hold this position in the deliverance of healthcare, can only be described as a privilege.

  • Sally is a fourth year medical student at Leeds University

  • Are you looking for GP Jobs?

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus