Monday, 9 January 2012

The point of GPs (and google)

When I was just responsible for my own health, I had quite a disregard for GPs. I frequently felt I knew more than them, and very much viewed them as an irritant whose games had to be played in order to get the next level, the specialist. In fact I used to joke about how we should be able to take an exam to get an 'advanced citizenship card' which would earn you the right to stand for public office, have your votes counted twice and self refer to specialist doctors. 

But GPs come into their own when you have a baby. (Or perhaps it's because I changed surgery from a horrible one to a nice one around the same time, to one where you get what you want not by shouting at the receptionists but by being nice to them.)

Sure I still sometimes know more than them after a quick google, but I underestimated the reassurance they can give the parents of small babies, particularly in the early days when every rash and spot and cough seems disastrous. Some months I feel I practically live at our surgery. Yet still they never seem to mind, reassuring me that they would always prefer to see a baby if the parent is worried, than miss a problem. 

Of course I still trust myself more. When one GP at our surgery dismissed concerns over one of my baby's eyes at three months, I called Moorfields Eye Hospital and on their advice went to their A&E where indeed a problem was diagnosed, and fixed. 

And when she has a temperature it is still down to me to ensure she gets the necessary checks to ensure she is fully well, and to remind the GP which tests they need to order. 

But working in partnership with a concerned, informed, insistent parent, they do a good job. 

So I've given GPs, in my virtual world in which I run health and education policy, something of a reprieve. For now I shall keep them. Health visitors however, well that is another post altogether...

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