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 dissatisfaction and, on occasions, adverse outcomes. The effect on the doctor’s morale and stress levels can also be significant and locum GPs are no exception to this rule.
Below I outline two case scenarios to illustrate potential difficulties and provide advice on how to manage such situations.
An ambulance delay
You are doing a week’s locum and it is lunchtime. You have been asked to conduct a home visit on Mr A, an elderly gentleman who has been experiencing intermittent chest pain and increasing shortness of breath. After assessing him, you are concerned as he has a raised respiratory rate, appears very tired and has reduced oxygen saturations. You diagnose pneumonia and are suspicious that his chest pain could be cardiac, rather than respiratory in origin. You feel he needs urgent hospital admission.