So I recently spent about a week at a GP Practice, which was absolutely AWESOME. Honestly, I learnt so much about the kind of patients they interact with (ranging from those coping with emotional distress to those dealing with cancer to even those who suffer from schizophrenia), the workload GPs are faced with and also I learnt a bit about the management of the GP. This was a great experience mainly, because I was able to sit in on consultations with the doctor so I could really learn about how doctors interact with patients. But there were also other aspects of this work experience which helped me broaden my knowledge:
- Doctors CAN’T let any stress they are facing get in the way of their work. For example: It would not be acceptable for a doctor to justify that he did not diagnose a patient correctly for a life threatening disease because they had a lot to deal with at the time so they forgot to ask a very important question.
- Breaching confidentiality can be done by an honest mistake: If you refer to a patient by another patient accidentally on the phone you have indirectly broken confidentiality because now the patient that are talking may know that person and now he/she also knows they have an illness for which they have contacted the GP.
- What sounds like an efficient method in theory may not be efficient in practice: So this GP had a different appointment system to mine, where instead of a patient just calling and booking an appointment the patient first calls in to the GP and leaves their number, then they are contacted again by the GP to discuss the problem so that the GP can decide whether it could be sorted over the phone or whether the patient should come in to the Practice. The idea of this was to avoid waiting lists. When I heard this idea I thought: ‘This is a great idea. What could possibly wrong with doing thing this way’. Well …sure enough I found out about 10 minutes later that it was not actually as efficient as it seemed. See the problem is it’s a time consuming method, it is a long process before one can see the GP face to face. Added to this some conversations over the phone tend to take longer meaning that the GP is forced to rush some phone consultations and it means that there isn’t much time left for face to face consultations. Often, it is very obvious that the patient need to see the GP in person and the phone conversation is just a waste of time.