So why have I started this blog? The idea was suggested to me during my recent appraisal. For several years I have kept a professional log which I submit as part of my appraisal material. The doctor who appraised me this year said that he found the log unusual, because I use it to reflect on my feelings rather than simply recording facts learned. He also finds the job stressful, and found it helpful to read about how a fellow GP had got through the year. He suggested that I might like to make the information more widely available, in case it helps anybody else. So here we are! I don't know who you are, reading this, but welcome to my world.
Obviously I will have to preseve my patients' anonymity. Generally, doctors feel extremely strongly about divulging information about their patients, and this applies particularly to GPs. We feel that the things told to us in confidence are highly personal, and do not wish to break trust. Our dear Government do not understand this, and were taken aback when doctors agreed with patients protesting about their medical records being "uploaded to the spine" and made electronically available to all and sundry. The upshot of all this is that names and other details have been changed, and if you think you recognise somebody - you're wrong!
The title of this blog is a homage to the classic book "A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor" by John Berger and photographer Jean Mohr, published in 1968. It sketches the life and experience of John Sassall, a general practitioner in an economically depressed rural area of England. The book had a profound influence on me, and many other GPs of my generation. I cannot claim to be anything like as good a GP as Sassall, but we all need rôle models. Part of my task in this blog will be to reflect on whether GPs in the UK can still consider themselves to be fortunate men and women.
Sassall suffered from bouts of depression and eventually killed himself. Like many other GPs I have also had a bout of depression which mercifully was not too severe. Now that I am better I wish to record the interesting and fulfilling aspects of our job, but also the stresses that we experience. I cannot claim to be typical of English GPs, but this is how it is for me.