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If the NHS was a desert island…

Caffeine and contemplation

Dominique Thompson

Monday, 05 August 2019

AdobeStock_164282157_DM_blog.jpgIt’s holiday season for many GPs and their families, so I wanted to write something positive and uplifting about our amazing NHS GPs as they crawl towards their desperately needed break, or that they might reflect on as they sit by the pool and count the minutes till Happy Hour. Something perhaps to counter any feelings our GPs may have about being unappreciated or taken for granted in their day to day roles.

Having just returned from two weeks in the Mediterranean I have had time to ponder what I might choose to take with me as my luxury item on a desert island, and that is how I came to decide that (in my fantasy world) I would take not the best and most highly prized Swiss army knife, but the human equivalent of this wondrous implement - the NHS GP! (It would also be easier to get the GP through airport security!)

GPs on holiday form an army of multiskilled (‘multipurpose’ if you will) generalists, useful in almost any medical scenario, and consequently hugely valued and appreciated wherever they visit, by anyone who benefits from their expertise. Of course, GPs don’t have to step up and help out if they are on holiday, and it’s important to recognise one’s limits, but GPs, just like Swiss army knives, have a skill for almost every occasion, and a sensible answer for almost every medical conundrum. From recognising strange rashes, to administering immediate wound care, from triaging high fever in a fellow holiday maker’s toddler, through to resuscitating collapsed travellers at 38,000 feet, and even performing CPR on the beach, GPs are brilliant, practical, and helpful wherever they go, worldwide. They are undoubtedly the best luxury item that the ‘desert island’ NHS could hope for.

And there is another benefit to our universally talented and versatile GP tribe roaming holiday destinations across the globe. The advice, support and care they may provide to unwell locals crosses language, cultural and international boundaries, bringing people closer together and bridging potential divides. With smiles, gestures and a mix of broken English and local dialect our amazing GPs can share one of the best bits of the UK with our overseas cousins - a bit that is positive and brilliant - NHS healthcare, free to all, and provided by experts!

So as you GPs travel the world this summer, take a moment to feel proud of your fantastic range of skills (your luxury item ‘status’) and your ability to unite nations and nationalities in a troubled world.

And have a great holiday - you deserve it!

Author's Image

Dominique Thompson

Dominique has been a student health GP since 2000, developing innovative new services to treat eating disorders and personality disorder in primary care. She was the GP member of the NICE Eating Disorders Committee 2017. She was a Pulse ‘GP hero’, in 2014, and a ‘Rising Star’ in 2016. Dominique writes about young adult wellbeing and mental health, in both the medical and non-medical press. Her latest adventure is as an independent consultant in student health and wellbeing www.buzzconsulting.co.uk. She is fuelled by caffeinated drinks.
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