Newsletter

Beware the old normal

As the government starts to ease lockdown, Judith Harvey questions what it is that we are easing ourselves back into. Last Friday, on my way to the pharmacy, a young woman, mask-less, was walking straight towards me, her eyes glued to her phone. Fortunately, one of us was alert. For me, she was a canary:…
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A lockdown diary – a journal of our times

Judith, along with billions of others, is spending her time in social isolation. Here's her diary, along with illustrations. 1st April 2020 Wild goats wandering in the streets of Llandudno this morning. An April Fool? No, it isn’t. In 2020 April Fools would be tasteless, when something we can’t see has made an April Fool…
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Podcast | The Sessional GP Magazine April 2020

Richard Fieldhouse reviews the latest edition of the Sessional GP magazine. In our 112th edition, Liz has summarised the government's advice about financial support for locums; Rachel from MPS has advice on how to practise in these times; Judith's been keeping a diary; Louise has reviewed the latest guidance on leg ulcer management and Nigel's…
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Antimicrobial resistance: can we outrun evolution?

In his Nobel prize acceptance speech Alexander Fleming sounded a note of warning. He had seen microbes acquiring resistance to penicillin and foresaw that misuse of the drug could undermine its effectiveness. Recently, at the Frontline Club across the road from Fleming’s old lab, five people whose work as journalists and doctors has helped to…
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Returning from maternity leave

It's tricky enough returning back to clinical sessions, so it's good to get your tax in order first. Last month’s article was on new mothers and the financial aspects of maternity to consider, so I thought it would be appropriate to consider the return from leave this time. As our client manager, Amy James ACA,…
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Doctors under siege

In 2011, Hamza was a young Syrian doctor learning German in the hope of going abroad for specialist training. Then the civil war broke out and he opted to stay in Aleppo, operating in makeshift hospitals on the people wounded by collapsing buildings, by barrel bombs, by snipers. Five years later government forces, backed up…
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Parental benefits

The New Year seems an appropriate time to think about new babies, so here we consider some money matters you might need to think about. Statutory maternity pay v maternity allowance Eligibility for statutory maternity pay (SMP): Earning at least £118 a week Give appropriate notice to employer with proof of pregnancy Have worked for…
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Breaking the rumination trap

Have you ever been stuck in a swirl of negative thoughts, rehashing things that you should or shouldn’t have said or done? Most of us will recognise this circular self-battering, a process known as rumination. Rumination, or 'chewing the cud', refers to the way that certain mammals - ruminants - eat, storing their partially-digested food…
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Podcast | Quiet please

The Royal Opera House orchestra was rehearsing Die Walküre. For more than three hours violist Chris Goldscheider sat in front of twenty brass players belting out Wagner at 90dB. His hearing was permanently damaged. The Opera House argued that artistic standards took precedence over the risk of acoustic shock, but the courts thought otherwise and…
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Making stress your friend

With ever mounting workload, increasing patient complexity and rising patient expectations and complaints, work is becoming increasingly stressful in the NHS. Life outside work is more stressful too. Notwithstanding stresses that we may have in our home life, we are now living in a 24/7 on-demand, fast-paced culture that lacks stop cues as we consume…
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Podcast | Now wash your hands

In post-war Italy TB was still rife and notices in buses commanded “No Spitting”. In Britain in 1946 the message “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases” promoted the use of handkerchiefs to catch the germ-laden droplets. Presumably a reasonably successful public health campaign, although if you are trapped like a sardine in a rush-hour tube train,…
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