Author: BJGP Life

“I am sorry”: Burnout, bad day or normal general practice?

Dr S Vashisht qualified in Cardiff, trained in London and is a GP in Nottingham. It will be our 30 year re-union soon and I will be travelling to Cardiff to reminisce with my classmates of 1985. That Class of 1985 is now full of fifty-something-year-old doctors. Thirty years is a long time in medicine. I can remember that as a newly trained GP, my non-medical friends would tell me their tales of experience with the health service and with their GPs.  “I have phoned my GP for an appointment and I have been given an appointment in two weeks’ time. Two weeks’ time! I am ill now, and I could be dead in two weeks” one friend told me. I tried in vain to explain about the system of appointments. My friend didn’t understand that most flu-like illnesses are self-limiting. She felt unwell and wanted to feel better as soon as possible. Surely her GP should be able to prescribe something that would make her feel better? Thirty years later I have a similar conversation with many patients. They do not want to take time off work, because of the strict monitoring of ‘sick time’ off in most work places. They have been unwell for three, five or seven days already. I examine them and tell them that it may take up to 3 weeks to get better...

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A letter to the Prime Minister

Claire Robertson is a GP in Inverness. LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER Dear Mr. Cameron, I have been meaning to write to you for some time, but, as I am sure you can imagine, life and work take over and the days fly by. The time has come over this last week having watched with interest the election results unfold and the Conservative majority see you remain our Prime Minister. Now that this second term is underway I plead with you listen to your dedicated public servants: I am from a working class background. My grandfathers were a miner and a...

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Exercise and sudden death in older athletes

John Brooks is a GP from Congleton. The early works of Morris and Rose suggested that those who were more physically active had less coronary heart disease than those who had a more sedentary way of life. The rise in popularity of running in the 1970s and 1980s led to some exaggerated claims that marathon running could somehow give immunity to coronary heart disease. Cases of sudden death in marathon races get a lot of publicity but the risk is probably no higher than people going about their daily activities. Sudden death from cardiovascular disease in young athletes is low and thought to be mainly due to inherited or congenital abnormalities. The most common of these is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with a smaller group made up of such conditions as Wolf-Parkinson White syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome and mitral valve prolapse1. The cause of the sudden death is a fatal cardiac arrhythmia that occurs in a seemingly fit athlete. Gentle jogging three times a week seems to be relatively safe and good for your health2 but how safe is long term endurance and intensive exercise particularly as we get older ? This question is important for those athletes who want to perform well at club level and elite athletes. Studies of cardiac adaptation to acute and chronic participation in endurance sports have shown both enzyme changes and evidence of cardiac remodelling.3 We...

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BJGP Book Review: Out of Chaos Comes a Dancing Star

Out of Chaos Comes a Dancing Star: Notes on Professional Burnout by Chris Ellis. OpenBooks Press, 2014, PB, 95pp, £18, http://www.lastoutpost.info This book review was written by Ami Sweetman and was in the April 2015 issue of the BJGP. The author of this book has a fellowship and doctorate in family medicine, and from 2005 to 209 was an associate professor of family medicine at the University of the United Arab Emirates. He is now back home, semi-retired, and doing family practice in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The opening quote from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche sets the tone, ‘Out of chaos comes a dancing star’, which in its fuller context reads: ‘One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.’ The text derives from his collection of notes taken from experience, workshops, and courses on the management of stress and burnout in medical doctors, and those involved in the healing professions, although he says it applies to all professionals whether in law, business, or driving the school bus. Stress is a common theme risking progression to burnout. His work shows that understanding another person’s trials and tribulations can be a source of inspiration. Although the text has a serious undertone it sparkles with wit throughout. Insights into some of the struggles experienced by healthcare professionals are revealed, creating an awareness of the similarity of concepts and conditions encountered by all doctors....

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The BJGP Student Writing Competition

A huge thanks to everyone that submitted entries to this year’s competition themed ‘The GP in the Digital Age’. We have received many wonderful entries and we are just in the final stages of judging. The people on the shortlist have now been notified by email and we will be announcing the winners next...

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The British Journal of General Practice and BJGP Open are bringing research to clinical practice. This is where we add the debate and opinion to help ensure everyone benefits from that research.

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