Dr Charles Alessi ruminates on what a day in the life of a GP in the new NHS might be like, years from now, following the successful NHS reforms of 2011…
Dr Penny Moore was pleasantly surprised she actually made it into the clinic by 2.00pm. The day had started a little chaotically as her 18-month old baby had been unsettled the night before and it took some time to settle him down.
That morning, she had just made it to get dressed and get in front of the computer screen in her study at home to start her surgery. She smiled as she remembered the first days of tele-consulting and the stories she heard of colleagues who were half dressed when they went in front of the computer forgetting they could be seen by patients on the other end. She had not put her shoes on, but no one would notice.
She had had a busy morning. Patients often preferred to consult from their homes or places of work via a tele-consultation. It worked well as she had all their medical notes to hand including all the special investigations. Some of the patients that morning needed to be examined and she asked them to pop into the clinic that afternoon for a face to face consultation.
Life had really changed following the NHS reforms in 2011. GPs now worked with nursing and social care teams in the community in organisations called NHS commissioning consortia and they all were responsible for managing the health of their patients directly. Hospital consultants were also part of this process and that morning she had had a teleconference with a few of them to discuss the care of some of her patients.
The clinic was one of the very many in the community and only a few blocks away from where she lived. These clinics also had the new robot pharmacies in the same location so patients could get their drugs straight away and even speak directly to a pharmacist in any language through a TV screen to ensure they understood how to take their medication.
Whilst in the clinic she had a meeting with the other GPs in the NHS commissioning consortium who were working on a new way to manage the care of patients who had lost a limb. They were making great progress coming up with a new system of care which ensured amputees got the care they deserved and got it quickly without having to go to hospital repeatedly.
It always still surprised her how many layers of bureaucracy existed in managing the care of patients and that it was possible to reform services if they worked together.
After clinic finished at 6.00pm, she needed to visit Mr Jivani. He was really quite unwell and needed support as he was getting more confused. The NHS health and social care teams were doing a great job at keeping him at home but she still popped in occasionally to see him and encourage him to get better.
She got home as the clock was striking 7.00pm and she had to take over from her mum who was babysitting. Life was still rushed but better than it had been a few years ago before the reforms. Yes, the pace was frenetic but at least the patients got a better deal out of the dear old NHS and she felt satisfied that she actually made a greater difference to the people she cared for.