Saturday, 20 June 2009

Presentations To The GP Registrars

Sorry for the delay in writing about my day with the GP Registrars. After a bit of a high immediately after the presentations I sunk into darkness again, but I am now ready to reflect on the day.

I arrived just before lunch which gave me the opportunity to touch base with 'B' with whom I do the presentations and we established the pattern that we would follow for each of the three workshops that we would be presenting. That gave us time to decide whether I would risk attempting to use the 'live' system or use the PowerPoint presentation that I have created for such occasions. We decided to settle for the PowerPoint; this would mean that there was less likelihood of there being any problems.

Then we joined the attendees and organizers for an enjoyable buffet lunch. It gave me the opportunity to say hello to a couple of people who I had met at the first presentation that I had given in this establishment way back in November last year. Then it was time to make our way to the room in which the workshops were to be carried out and await the arrival of the first group.

'B' gave the background to what we were going to be talking about and how it was possible for this system to be used by 60% of the GP practices in the country, and then it was my turn to speak about patients having online access to their medical records and the benefits that could accrue from it. After my presentation it was time for the attendees to ask questions and to give their viewpoint which led to some lively discussions.

The reaction by each group to the presentation was different. The first group included several in their number who were openly hostile to the idea that patients should have access to their medical records, let alone be able to see them online. Even the reminder that I, as a patient, had a legal right to see my medical records could not dissuade them from their views.

The second group seemed to be fairly neutral to the idea at first, but after listening to what we had to say in the presentation and what came up in the follow-up discussion seemed to understand how there could be significant benefits for both the GP and the patient.

The third group were in general quite open to the idea before the presentation and became very positive towards the concept as a result of it and the discussion afterwards. Perhaps the difference that was seen in this group was as a result of most of them being in the final stages of their training whereas the other two groups had many more who were at earlier stages, or perhaps it was just the attitude shown by a few of the more vociferous members of those groups that led me to these conclusions.

After the workshops there was a break for tea and biscuits before the final session which included a quiz and the final roundup by the Professor who was head of the group who had organized the study day. Then we were invited to join the attendees in a glass (or two) of wine and informal chat. 'B' thanked me for joining him in making the presentations which he believes benefit from having a patient doing most of the presentation and being there to give the patient's point of view. He then had to leave because of other commitments but I stayed and joined one group of GP registrars with whom I spent a most enjoyable hour discussing the relationship between GP and patient and how best to achieve a good relationship.

On the whole I found these GPs in training lovely group of people, but I did have concerns about one or two who seemed to have little real idea about the patients that they would be treating in the future. There were several who seemed to think that just because their future patients had not been to medical school that they were of low intelligence. I can't help thinking that this is a very dangerous and stupid way of thinking for people wanting to work in general practice. I pointed out to one of them who made a comment about the intelligence of their future patients that there was no way of knowing anything about a patient's background or education from an initial glance at their medical record. I am quite sure that someone with a PhD in astrophysics for example, is not going to like being spoken to as though they were some sort of intellectual midget. I can only hope that this particular doctor learns a bit more about how to communicate well with patients before they are allowed to deal with those patients on a full-time basis.

Fortunately ideas such as these seemed to be restricted to just one or two of the doctors present and the rest were a really lovely group of individuals many of whom I would be more than happy to have as my GP in the future. It was great to be able to talk to them after the study day and to ask them about the presentation that I had given and whether it had changed their view on the subject. One thing that I did learn was that they had found it a very worthwhile experience to have a patient as one of the presenters at the workshops and that it had allowed them to see something from the patient's point of view rather than from that of a doctor. I have a couple more presentations to give in the coming weeks. One of them is to a Strategic Health Authority and the other is to a PCT. I just have to hope that they go as well.

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