Dr Chris Mimnagh: The vital role of general practice in times of tragedy

The emergency services are rightly praised for their response to recent tragic events, but it is general practice that provides ongoing support to those individuals affected, says Dr Chris Mimnagh.

We have witnessed so many tragedies in recent weeks.

I knew that following the Manchester bombing there wouldn't be a practice in either Manchester or Liverpool not impacted by the events.

The latest tragedy at Grenfell Tower is still unfolding. ‘Blue Light’ services are rightly recognised as heroic in their efforts to save lives in both of these events and the two recent terror attacks in London.

But, as the ripples spread outwards from these incidents, it will not be the emergency services that counsel, support, refer, treat and sometimes just listen to those affected - the bereaved, the families, the traumatised, the exhausted - it is general practice.

So spare a thought for the eight practices within half a mile of Grenfell Tower, ranging in size from 2,400 to 10,000 patients, which will be issuing urgent medication, providing practical help to homeless, hopeless souls, allaying fears in anxious block dwellers, supporting those bereaved directly or by association.

That work will go on and on. When the Blue Lights go, general practice remains.

  • Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP in Liverpool and head of clinical innovation liaison and deployment at The Innovation Agency, the academic health science network for the north-west coast.

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