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Recent Posts by Rachel Birch

Is laughter the 
best medicine?

The use of humour is believed to have several positive psychological and physiological effects on health. Many doctors and patients believe it has a place in the consultation. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal adviser at Medical Protection, addresses this issue in more detail and presents a case where humour had unintended consequences. In recent years it…
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Fitness to fly

Dr Rachel Birch, Medical Protection medicolegal adviser, presents two case scenarios on requests for fitness to fly certificates, illustrating what locum GPs can do to support patients while minimising any potential risks. Case study – Fit to fly, we want some sunshine! Mr G, a 68 year old patient, came with his wife to see…
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Lost in translation

Medical Protection’s Dr Rachel Birch explores some of the risks involved in treating patients whose first language is not English. It is likely that we have all consulted with patients whose first language is not English. How often we do so will depend on the demographics of the practice population. There are potential risks, both…
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New GMC confidentiality guidance and sessional GPs

The GMC has revised its confidentiality guidance and came into force on 25 April 2017, and it's worth becoming familiar with these changes. The GMC has published a helpful summary of what is new in the guidance, and outlines the duty of confidentiality that GPs have to their patients but emphasises the wider duty to…
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Delays outside your control

As a GP, you're part of a system. So what happens when the system is failing? You only have to pick up a newspaper to read about the widespread effects of funding cuts on the NHS. Long waits in A+E, delays in ambulance response times and frequent cancellations of operations. This leads, inevitably, to patient…
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When the going gets tough

Managing your own wellbeing can be difficult as a locum, as prioritising your own health and safety over the needs of a practice could sour your relationship with that practice. However, it is important to ensure that you are practising in a way that is compatible with your own personal safety and wellbeing, and that…
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Can you just sign this prescription?

Locum GPs may work in numerous varied practices and encounter many different staff in the course of their work. Whilst team working is to be welcomed, the locum GP can often feel vulnerable when an unknown member of the team asks for their assistance. Dr Rachel Birch, medicolegal adviser and sessional GP outlines two common…
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A challenging colleague

Whilst being a locum GP can have 
many advantages, there are possible drawbacks. Locums may not know the GP partners or the practice set up and can potentially find themselves working with a difficult colleague. It may be a rose-tinted view to expect that every practice will welcome you with open arms, but it would…
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Two-week referrals a cocktail for complaints

Time-dependent, stressful and often scary, 2-week referrals can be a cocktail for complaints. Dr Rachel Birch from MPS presents a roundup of useful advice on two week referrals for an all too regular clinical presentation. Many patients are likely to be aware of the NICE guidelines for the recognition and referral of suspected cancer. Certainly,…
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