Thursday 1 February 2018

Why your ten-minute appointment with the GP isn’t enough!

United Kingdom 
– With news headlines about GPs across Britain struggling with unmanageable workloads, doctors’ leaders are warning that many family doctors are regularly working way beyond what could be considered safe for patients, and potentially jeopardising their own health.
But it’s not only the number of consultations GPs now face each day which is posing risks; it’s their content. Modern general practice is not all about sore throats and ankle sprains; patients are increasingly presenting with more complex, chronic conditions, many of which require much longer than the standard 10-minute appointment.
Dr Graham Easton’s new book is the story of a busy morning surgery told in real time; the first popular medical book to take the reader inside the mind of a GP during their 10-minute consultation, revealing the pressures of modern day frontline general practice. Each chapter is one of eighteen appointments, tackling everything from headaches, angry patients and severe depression to health checks, breaking bad news and a seriously sick child.
The Appointment: What Your Doctor Really Thinks During Your Ten-Minute Consultation’ has already been selected for the BBC Radio 2 Fact, not Fiction Book Club, and shortlisted for the BMA Book Awards 2017.  It is now available as a paperback.

Despite the modern trend towards empowering patients and giving them more choice, the nuts and bolts of medical practice largely remain a mystery - a closed box. In fact, the more health information is available on the internet, the more patients can feel swamped and confused. The Appointment offers an intimate and honest account of how a typical GP tries to make sense of a patient's health problems and manage them during an all-too-brief appointment in an overstretched health system.
GP workload has increased by at least 16% in the last seven years. An unmanageable and unsafe workload is one of the key reasons why practices are struggling to recruit new GPs, and many older doctors are leaving general practice or suffering burnout. Taking the reader through a typical morning surgery, The Appointment lets the reader, for the first time, get inside the mind of the person sitting in front of them – from the professional science and art of making a diagnosis to the personal emotional toll of not having enough time to care safely.
“We hear a lot about the pressure hospital doctors are under, but 90% of doctor/patient contacts are in the GP’s surgery,” explains the author. “General Practice really is the backbone of the entire system and, unfortunately, it’s the piece of the NHS puzzle most at risk. I think NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens summed it up perfectly when he said, “If general practice fails, the whole NHS fails”. I am passionate about general practice and I want to show people why it’s under threat and why that matters. GPs are used to being busy, but right now the workload is taking its toll. In fact, I have had to take time out of practice with symptoms of burnout.”
Dr Easton says: “It’s an honest account of the challenging rollercoaster of frontline general practice; an insight the average person hasn’t had access to before. Considering most of us visit the doctor at least once a year, there should be something here for everyone.”
Readers agree, leaving a slew of positive reviews. Roger Neighbour, Past President of The Royal College of General Practitioners comments, “Buy it; read it; recommend it - give it, if necessary - to anyone who needs to be set straight about the worth and complexity of general practice ... to read The Appointment is to know better.”
Robert, an Amazon reviewer adds, “This book should be required reading for everyone who uses the NHS primary care service. It is quite brilliant in its explanation of what underpins the primary care consultation.”

About the Author:
Dr Graham Easton is a practising GP, Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and former Programme Director for GP Specialty Training at Imperial College London. Graham is also an experienced medical journalist - he has presented a wide range of radio programmes including Case Notes on BBC Radio 4 and Health Check for BBC World Service, and was an editor at the British Medical Journal for four years. He has co-edited the prize-winning textbook General Practice at a Glance, and How to Pass the CSA exam for trainee GPs. He trained in medicine at the Royal London Hospital and then on the Oxford Region GP Training scheme.

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