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Ode to primary care

Rubia Usman is a GP, trainer and training programme director in North Lincolnshire. She is leaving full-time primary care to go on sabbatical.

I didn’t know how much I loved primary care until I had to leave it.

‘One does not love breathing.’ says Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird. Primary care to me is the lungs or heart of the NHS. Pun intended. It is the centre point that holds everything together and keeps it all going. Being a International medical graduate who trained here and picked primary care for that so called work-life balance or even accidentally, I have been in a constant state of surprise.

There is a person (your GP) who can connect the dots between all your health issues, prescriptions and any secondary care reviews or appointments. There is a person (your GP) who you can vent to whenever you are irked at them, hospital doctors, nurses, ambulance crew, nurses, NHS-as-a-whole or even your neighbour. We are the sounding board for most mental, physical and social health issues. A lot of the times we are the emergency care providers where there are excessive delays in getting the said care.

Primary care is the heart and soul of NHS England. I know this now. I wish everybody else did.

We are also the clinicians who may not only treat you or if you live a small town where I work, your children, your parents or more of your loved ones. We understand the dynamics of what is going on your household as we have spent years looking after you and your family. We refer and help you navigate through specialities clinic by only reading and explaining the letters we have got. We hold your hand through tough times or happy times, do your baby health checks, do your health screening and also sometimes cry with you when you lose your loved ones and explain end of life care to you. We do your cancer reviews, offer support and guidance as well as rejoice when you have fought it off.

And when the world is in turmoil and the pandemic hits we go over our limits to deal with whatever the virus, the high powers, nhs England throw at us. All this while with a smile on our face. Every day is a fight and when we return home tired and some days broken, we get up the next and start all over again. And when we are criticised , we vent and move on and carry on working.

Primary care is the heart and soul of NHS England. I know this now. I wish everybody else did.

Featured photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

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