Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Fire up the Ferrari. It is Spring.

One of the team did the extra Gordon surgery this Saturday morning. Due to the huge demand from busy commuting pensioners and toddlers, and the fact that the sun was out, half of the patients did not turn up for the extra Gordon despite there being a huge demand for it (according to Gordon).

This was despite huge complaints during the week in the real world of General Practice, where politicians do not treat patients, that due to a shortage of GPs due to school holidays there were no appointments. There was coincidentally very little real illness but it all wanted to be seen NOW.

This is par for a Saturday Gordon surgery in Northernshire and probably reflects the over abundance of GPs in these leafy Northern shires where we reside and practice medicine.

When we left the surgery there was bright sunshine pouring down onto Northernshire. The red paint work on our state funded Ferrari, so lovingly polished by each GP’s own personal car valetor, was gleaming, for all Family Physicians in the UK earn £250,000+ (US $ 375,000 +) for playing golf each day and it beckoned “drive me now”.

So the Sat Doc fired up the engine and we went off for a spin in sunny, springtime Northernshire.

We left the quiet conurbation and sped into upper grassland. The roads were quiet and the bends were fun and for several miles there were daffodils in bloom along the roadside.

Certain new blooms had sprouted along the roadsides which we think belong to the genus, Electiononus Placcus Consvertas, as well as the, Non Turbinus Windus Giganitus, which added different colours to the normal yellow of the daffodils.

As we ascended from the grassy fields of the main roads towards some of the more twisting and demanding high moorland roads we noticed another new hazard. Lots of newspapers have commented on the large number of potholes caused by a “harsh” winter here in the UK.

In our highly affluent part of Northernshire the local Councils has not only done a good job of keeping the roads generally clear but are also filling in potholes on the main routes at a pretty good rate too.

However, on the country roads, the word pothole is a bit of a misnomer as some are more accurately described as car swallowers.

If ones Ferrari only has a few inches of ground clearance a 6-8 inch deep erosion of tarmac at junctions where large wheeled tractors and tanks churn up tarmac in areas as wide as your car led us to calculate whether if at 60 mph the fall of a car would lead to the base of the engine and most of the car’s skirt being ripped out by the harshly damaged tarmac.

We think our knowledge of Newton’s laws of motion combined with a drop in speed and some serious zigzagging saved us from an expensive engine and front end rebuild.

We also thought of our last week and comments from various colleagues about what we had actually done work wise as doctors.

The overwhelming thought was we had been spending hours each day seeing a never ending parade of NHS managers coming round and assessing “quality” through various initiatives among others called DES/LES/World Class Commissioning and Practice Based Commissioning.

All of us had spent sometimes more each day being involved in “quality” and “performance” inspections from delta grades at the local PCT than seeing patients.

We thought how much paper was being produced to show to former flu line operatives with important sounding job titles who could just manage to read how to do their job off a piece of paper held in their hand throughout the visit to demonstrate “good practice” dictated by those that are at best in the bottom third of the United Kingdom’s education system but who are now in charge of your health service in the UK.

This made us angry as by striving to meet dumbed down targets and over bureaucratic nonsense we are in fact harming patients mainly by not seeing them.

Still the sound of our Best of Bucks Fizz CD in the boogie box and some serious cornering meant for a short while we had some serious well earned R&R and our minds were distracted from work. We were happy, it was spring, nature was coming alive and we were enjoying the changing brightly lit and now snow free scenery. We all need our escape moments and this felt good. Roll on another barbeque summer?

Praise be to the Party for inventing Monday’s for its comrade workers to enjoy. We can’t wait.

More quality visits and inspections anyone? Any chance of seeing and treating a real ill patient not a target?

We doubt it but we live in hope.

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