Make good news

It’s sort of summer and though we got very wet and cold from St David’s on our tandem Side to Side Cycle across Britain last week, we plan to continue next weekend, to Lowestoft.  A triumph of hope over experience?

Without hope there is only fear.  We need good news, which doesn’t get headlines, because I’ve come to observe that while individually GPs care for their patients, collectively they fear them.  They fear fatigue, they fear the deluge, they fear facing up to the true, genuine demands in hours of their own registered patients.

That fear paralyses them from taking action.

The good news is that when they do take action, we see hopes realised and fears dashed.  Another launch this week, in Wales, within a couple of days GPs were going home at 6, all work complete, instead of climbing the mountain of paperwork at 6.  A launch in Scotland two weeks ago, the manager writes

The staff are loving the new system - the greatest improvement is for reception, the GPs are still adjusting but all noticing greater control over their day and a feeling there is more time to do things. We have had several calls from relatives of patients asking if they can move to our surgery becuase they have heard how good the new system is!

We’ve done Waypoint meetings with others this week, still improving 3 months in, another writes in a year later, better and better, encouraging other local practices.

Change is not risk free, sometimes it’s hard (though our practices generally find it easier than expected).  But with this kind of testimony consistently, it is a sadness to me that in four years we have seen so few at only 80 practices make the leap, while hundreds have looked and stepped back, in fear.  Fear is easily stirred, fear shouts louder than hope, fear keeps you locked in.

Let hope triumph and make your own headlines today.

Dr Sara Cowell
Founder, Chief Executive
Dot Community Health Ltd

PS I’ve just updated the askmyGP pilot study with new data on patient feedback.  Opt in surveys are notorious for negative bias, but we are seeing 60% say the new online access system is better.  Among the seniors (60+ age groups) it’s even higher at 63%.  Very very encouraging and more grounds for hope that change is not only possible and productive for GPs, it’s welcomed by patients, typical comments:

“The doctors are very quick at getting back to you and giving sound advice”

I usually get a call back quite quickly which is far better than waiting 15 minutes on the phone until someone picks up.”

One response to “Make good news”

  1. Dr Sara Cowell says:

    From Valerie Iles:
    ‘I agree with you, that fear of overwhelm is, sadly, reaching disabling levels. Martin Fisher and Gill Ereaut explore this thoughtfully in their book about the feelings and fears that both parties bring to the medical encounter.. In case it’s of interest here is a short summary ( And here is the book itself ‘ ( Thanks for the stimulating blogs.

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