Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Dear Doctor

Dear Dr G Practice,
Despite my seemingly, at least in your eyes, lowly position in the world of patient care, I would nevertheless like to raise the following points. This is due to the fact that recently I have repeatedly been met by an attitude which I would not wish on a rabid dog.

1) We are not your get-out-of-the-surgery-on-time assessment, referral, or taxi service. If I get called to a patient two minutes before the end of my day (or more usually, night), I still have to see them, assess them, refer or treat them, transport them too, if necessary. I can't, don't and wouldn't pass them onto somebody else just because I couldn't be bothered, especially without having seen them at all.

2) Just because you have seen your patient and called for an ambulance, does not discharge you of your responsibility towards them. It should not give you the right to dump them back in the waiting room, letter in hand, waiting for the ambulance to turn up. At best, it's unprofessional. At worst, detrimental to the patient. Especially, just as an example, when they are asthmatic, struggling for breath, hypoxic, O2 levels of 68% instead of nearly 100%, and literally climbing the walls, desperately near death.

3) I and all my colleagues, much to your chagrin, are not mere stretcher-monkeys any more. We are emergency medicine experts. We spend years studying, improving on and perfecting our craft. Much as you do with yours. As such, to have the professional courtesy towards a fellow medical professional and to give us a clinical handover would be greatly appreciated. Not to show that courtesy says much more about you than it does about us.
4) I'm fully aware that not ALL GPs are the same. I'm aware that there are plenty who do understand, comprehend and appreciate our role in patient care. I'm aware that there are many who are even pro-active in their dealings with paramedics. But I'm equally, and acutely, aware that there are those who hold us in disdain. So, even though I've said this before, I'll say it again. If what you think about the Ambulance Service and Paramedics hasn't changed in the last 10, 15, even 20 years, then come and spend a shift, maybe two on an ambulance. Relearn all that you thought you knew about us, but has changed so much since your early days as a doctor. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Show us the respect we're due, and once again I can guarantee we'll return the favour.


slmiller72 said...

Thankyou Ben, for saying what i've wanted to say for years! :) SLM

pyoorkate said...

The problem is the good GPs are the ones who do appropriate tests, treat early, diagnose correctly and refer promptly.

So we never notice them.

It's the ones who do inappropriate tests, treat late and incorrectly and don't bother to refer, or refer to the wrong team who we constantly battle with and who give GPs such a bad name