Sophie Yelland: In praise of primary care physicians

If someone told you the world was ending and gave you ten minutes to fix it, you’d probably express some mild expletives.

This is a complete exaggeration to vent my frustrations at the expectations we have of primary care physicians.

My point is primary care physicians are amazing. They can deal with almost every situation from extremely minor to life threatening. They know what to do, whom to ask, and what the next steps should be.

This is an incredibly enviable set of skills that most physicians may never achieve and yet they’re only given ten minutes to use them. Ten minutes to address someone’s risk of suicide versus ten minutes to check someone’s blood pressure.

The culture of NHS targets is not something I’m dismissing lightly.

I understand that the services are maxed out, everyone’s overworked, no one has enough funding and all avenues are stretched.

However, the primary care model is such that, when working well, it provides important continuity of care and vital management of chronic diseases.

As an emergency medicine physician, I can appreciate the importance of primary care in the avoidance of A&E admissions, and potentially reduced hospital stay, if the chronicity of their longstanding comorbidities are well managed in the community.

As the festive period is here, I wanted to raise a proverbial glass to our primary care colleagues. Thank you for all that you do.

Sophie Yelland is an emergency medicine trainee working and living on the South Coast.

Competing interests: None declared.