Giving up …. or stopping?

When I first became a GP, there was a problem with easing octogenarians out of the practices they had served for more than half a century. Then came Mrs Thatcher’s purchaser-provider split and a new GP contract. Suddenly grey-haired GPs became an endangered species and no-one wanted to go into general practice. Now in 2007…
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Are we still all right, Jack?

Around the middle of the 20th Century three countries introduced systems designed to provide primary health care to all their citizens: the UK, China and Cuba. All three nations had emerged from devastating conflicts with a political commitment to more equal societies. All achieved success in reducing health inequalities. Through universally applied public health programmes,…
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Dennis

Dennis was in the fourth bed on the left. When I joined the firm he had already been there some while. Every ward round, the collective morale of the team would sink when we came to his bed. After weeks we still didn’t know what was wrong with him. From his pillow, Dennis regarded us…
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Standing up to the demon

“You could try AA, but they're a funny lot. And you alcoholics tend to be a clever bunch ...” So said the counsellor my friend was seeing about her problem drinking. She was flattered: “Oh, how we alcoholics love to be told that we're extra-clever!”. AA, it seemed, was cultish, prescriptive, quite possibly exploitative, and…
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A la recherche du temps perdu

I have just been clearing out – old textbooks, cuttings from Update and BMJ from the days before information could be stored electronically, even some old lecture notes (did I once know all that?). Since I don’t recall my days as a clinical student with fondness, I was surprised while leafing through dog-eared volumes to…
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Why no man is an island

If you plot a graph of the wealth of nations against the health of their citizens, it is clear that, up to a point, the more you spend the better the health outcomes. But if you then analyse the health of the rich countries that cluster at the top of the graph, where extra spending…
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Will I still be me?

Would you have a face transplant? If a dog had ripped off your nose and cheeks and lips, would you be able to learn to live with the damage, or would you be keen to consider taking on someone else’s face? Perhaps the issue that raises most anxiety is the question of identity. Psychologist Diana…
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Skills and training for locum GPs

We're very pleased to announce the publication of our 'core competencies' document Locum GPs - the skills we need and how to achieve them. bLocums | Do GP locums need special training and skills?Yes, without a doubt, although it hasn't yet been incorporated into the GP training curriculum. Training GPs to work as locums is very…
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Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?

A 1980s cult advertising campaign posed sharing your tube of cheap caramels as an existential crisis. A 21st century version of the dilemma involves higher stakes. Would you offer one of your kidneys to a member of your family? To a friend? To a stranger? The first successful living donor kidney transplant was performed in…
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Happy Christmas Two Loo!

We've asked for ours to arrive in avocado green All here at the NASGP would like to wish all our members past and present a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As is now tradition, we've dispensed with Christmas cards and instead purchased something a little more practical from one of our favourite…
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Synaesthesia – a multisensory experience

  I first met Jane Mackay when she had just returned to London after two years as a volunteer teaching paramedics in Papua New Guinea. Later, when I was a mature medical student, I was able to spend a couple of weeks at her practice in Walworth, one of London’s roughest areas, and her enthusiasm…
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