“He’s got a bit of a cough and a runny nose and I’m a little bit worried it might have settled on his chest…”
And so begins your typical consultation in the wonderful land of General Practice. I’ve just started my placement in Corby – also know locally as “little Glasgow”, on account of the large Scottish population – in my first exposure to GP in 4 years of medical school.
Despite being constantly trashed in the media, GPs are absolutely the backbone of the NHS. 80% of healthcare is delivered in primary care, and the joy of knowing that absolutely anything could walk through the door, unfiltered by any system, is part of what makes GP so interesting.
As a Medical Student I have the joy of running my own mini-clinic each morning, dealing with the sort of one-off problems that we can theoretically handle. So far this list seems to exclusively include
1) Ear ache
2) Chest infections
3) Joint pain
4) Rashes & Eczema
5) Urinary tract infection
Any departure from this famous five is deemed a cause for celebration – I was recently faced with a possible case of Scabies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scabies – cool, right?) which turned out to be allergic dermatitis, but it was a thrilling ride none the less.
We get to spend 20 minutes with each case, doing as thorough a history and examination as possible, with a 10 minute presentation to the patients usual GP at the end. To add to the fun, we also have the joy of filming ourselves carrying out said consultations, with predictably cringe-worthy results. I’m now working on correcting my hunched over posture and tendency um and ah at every possible opportunitiy.
All in all, my time in GP so far has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in medical school yet. With exams around the corner I’m spending much of my free time cramming medical knowledge into my brain. All the fun!