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This too shall pass – By Nicola Davies

by in GP Practice Management, Practice Life

Well, haven’t we all had a few interesting weeks! What started out for some as “it’s only like flu, don’t panic”, has rapidly become akin to the Great Plague with Joe Public wearing masks and gloves while doing the supermarket shop (I’m saying nothing about the absolutely appalling behaviour of some panic-buying as that’s a rant I’ve already had).

We’ve had some really trying times and I’m sure we’re still in for a few weeks more yet.

We’re in a state of total telephone triage as well as being asked questions such as ‘have you managed to sort a ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ site?’ or ‘If you’ve only got one building, how are you dealing with your COVID v. non-COVID patients?’ It’s a logistical nightmare but you know what really makes me rant? When everyone on the TV goes on about the NHS, the frontline. Whilst it’s right and proper that the docs and nurses who are dealing with the worst of cases in hospital ICUs etc. are supported (and God only help them with the PPE they’re having to wear), we’re not getting a mention – and I do wonder when everyone says ‘NHS Frontline’, are they including us at all?

It’s not that I want thanks – I’ve been doing this far too long to think I’m ever going to get a slap on the back, but I do want my team to be appreciated.  My receptionists who have adapted to very different ways of working in such a short space of time; my nurses who are now using telephone calls with patients to manage conditions such as chronic asthma and COPD etc; the dispensary team coping with the influx of requests and dealing with the additional deliveries that have caused us a number of headaches; my back office team who are sorting out the appointments system to manage telephone triage, as well as the duty doc, and adding in 111 slots here and there. Despite all this they’re all remaining cheerful while they do everything. To say nothing of my GPs, who have not only managed our patients and their anxieties, but have also offered support to me when I’ve finished yet another 14 hour day trying to deal with all the rubbish that we have to put up with.

And don’t get me started on the emails! I know this is an ever-evolving situation, and one that has changed on a daily and weekly basis, but the number of emails we’ve had, along with attachments which all need to be read, digested and actioned appropriately is just beyond belief. My COVID-19 folder, where I’ve stored everything for reference is currently at 111 documents, and that will rise by at least 12 docs per day as we carry on.

Now the really good bit about what’s happening, and I am ever the optimist, is the fact that I’m not feeling guilty for doing nothing on the weekend (normally, I try and cram everything in on the two days I’ve got off). They now consist of doing some baking, reading a book, enjoying the garden, walking the dog, and I don’t bash myself over the head for not filling my Saturday and Sunday.

Also, we’re (mostly) all being very nice to each other! My team are filling us all up on homemade cake (those sugar levels must be kept up!). I even got a bacon sarnie this morning because I offered to do a reception shift! The people I do come into contact with are all telling me to stay safe and saying what a good job everyone is doing. Some patients are never happy, but we’ll never please everyone no matter what we do.

There are some low points, of course there are – but that drive home helps me offload it all before I get in – and hubby has made my dinner and filled the glass ready.

We live to fight another day people, so STAY SAFE, enjoy the sun, and remember “This too shall pass”…

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Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies

Practice Manager regularly ranting about the NHS. 35 years in Primary Care and still getting irritated by constant change for change sake!

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2 Responses to “This too shall pass – By Nicola Davies”
  1. Avatar
    Robert the PM Says:

    Excellent thread. Today one of the political parties have suggested £29 per day bonus for front line staff yet in general practice 30% of surgeries are reporting shortages of PPE. Sone Practices have been arguing about giving a cost of living pay rise whilst others have been trying to avoid payments to absentees and wanting them back at work.

    Home working has come on in leaps and strides and almost all Practices have risen to the challenge to find new ways of working that they may have resisted in the past. There is far more to clap and applaud than there is to criticise. It has been a wake up call. Captain Tom has walked 25m 100 times and raised £25m. I suggest all Practices Staff clap themselves at 11am each day!!!!!!!


  2. Avatar
    martin Says:

    When everyone on the TV goes on about the NHS, the frontline

    I interpret the ‘frontline’ as absolutely including us, and so does everyone I know. When we do the thursday NHS-clap I get waves and thumbs-up from all down the street, and it’s not as if I’m doing anything caring. It fair brings a lump to the throat.

    My biggest gripe is all those who are nowhere near the front-line feeling that they’ve got to do something to ‘help’, which results in a flurry of emails/ requests/ offers etc – which adds to the workload and is the dead opposite of help! CCG, I’m talking about YOU!

    (there are a couple of choice expressions that I mutter under my breath at them, the only one that’s printable is ‘b*** PONTIs’ – PONTI = person of no tactical importance!)


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