Saturday, 16 January 2010

The rain came and so did the flood . . .

Yesterday, about lunchtime, it started raining here in downtown Northernshire. Slowly, as the temperature rose, the snow and ice started to disappear.

Last Friday’s “something for the weekend” emergency surgery had 3 punters. This Friday’s “something for the weekend” emergency surgery was full to the gunnels. Not one of them was an acute, life threatening, medical emergency. The first 5 each spent 15 minutes talking about nothing medical. As a doctor we were wasted as there was no illness.

For days our surgeries have not been full but the supermarkets have. Emergency surgeries of 24 patients have had maximums of 7 punters. What does that say about real illness, the effect of weather has upon it and how the population view General Practice as visits have been minimal which they should be anyway in any first world country?

Accident and Emergency attendances have been almost 5 times higher but this might be due to genuine illness like broken bones that needs acute medical care.

The cold snap has posed many questions in our minds about the use of General Practice by the population and its provision by Government, and illness and how, and when, it presents. We do not have the answers but we will try to find them.

The drive home was a mix of low cloud and fog on roads awash with water and the Practice Ferrari was taken on the back roads for a change albeit it at no more than 40mph at best.

The weekend forecast is for more rain and above freezing temperatures. This morning most of the snow and ice had gone so hopefully come Monday things will be back to normal. Full surgeries, possibly fuller than normal surgeries, as people now feel the need to venture out for “necessities” and “emergencies” other than food and petrol namely healthcare.

All of our staff we have spoken to this week have said the same thing that they wish the snow will go. Many have struggled in, some literally on hands and knees, using buses and trains instead of cars to get into work and many have fallen or skidded their cars but still they have come. They have arrived late but have arrived and then worked as normal.

Thank you to all our staff and we suspect in many other Northernshire practices the same will apply.

We would also like to thank the local ambulance service who have done an incredible job given the circumstances and for the first time in ages cancelled the normal outpatient taxi service that is 90% of their workload. Before the NHS emergency work accounted for 90% of the workload but it only took 2 years for people to realize that taxis are provided for free by the State for healthcare.

General Practice is not liked by the Party but, bar one day only, we have provided a full service.

Praise be to the Party for all of their support during these difficult times. It has been much appreciated as always.

The Met Office have forecast a milder and wetter winter as well what joy . . .

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