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Monday, 13 September 2010


Life as a rural GP sometimes feels like life in a goldfish bowl. To be honest, life for anyone in a rural community is pretty fair game for comment by anyone to everyone at any time. For example, a few years ago I went to an 80's night fund raiser for a local school dressed as Siouxie Siou of Banshees fame. Torn Fishnets, black DM's , three pencils worth of kohl, back-combed hair and a bin bag. Hidden by my new persona I danced like a demon all night, had a brilliant time and then taxi'd everyone home.

The Lovely Siouxsie

Monday morning surgery.
MR X, review appointment, 10 am
" Morning Doc, I saw you on Saturday night, you looked like you'd had a right skinful" (assume reference to my fancy dress and strange dancing)

ME (few remnants of Kohl round eyes)
"Actually I was driving on Saturday night Mr X, that's what I'm like when I am sober!"
I can't remember if I have seen him since!

Although I can now see the funny side it does illustrate what it feels like living and working in a small community. It's a well stocked minefield. At what point does looking as if you are pissed at a party , or even getting pissed at a party where everyone is registered at your practice constitute unprofessional behaviour?
The GMC guidance advises doctors to maintain professional boundaries, and yet as the nearest practices to us are 25 miles away all my friends are patients. Am I allowed to fall out with people? Can I tell them to fuck off  without being referred to the GMC?

"You must not express to your patients your personal beliefs, including political, religious or moral beliefs, in ways that exploit their vulnerability or that are likely to cause them distress"
Does this include posting that I am an atheist on facebook or commenting that Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes? I have stopped posting anything other than Jam recipes and updates on the dog since a patient messaged me to say that they found my comment regarding The Pope, Africa and condoms offensive.

However I survive, both professionally and personally. In fact I choose my friends very carefully, join a book group out of my practice area  and get pissed in private- largely! As for my political and religeous views, I now hide them in the medical blogosphere, shielded in part.


  1. The joy of blogging PP is that you can say what you want and hide under anonyminity. Facebook is way to open. Patients unfortunately (I am one) view their doctors as perfect examples of humanity and deny them normal human emotions.

    Whenever I visit your site (with the intention of this response) it is always a bit 'wavy' and I find it hard to tie this comment section down.
    Just thought I'd let you know.

    I look forward to your next post!

    Anna :o]