Introducing Joni Martins
Where did the idea for the story come from?
This is non-fiction. The idea for the book was sparked when former prime minister Theresa May intimated the waiting times in A&E were caused by GP’s being too lazy to see the patients they should. This caused an uproar amongst hard-working GP’s who felt this was utterly inappropriate and incorrect. A competition in the GP journals was started to write letters to Mrs May to express the dismay. The ‘Dear Prime Minister’ letters were then accumulated and shared in the GP press.
This still did not change the public perception of primary care. The press reported on how GP’s did little to nothing to ease the pressure on A&E. Never mind that even a GP who only works 3 days a week already works over full-time hours in the world around them. 12-hour days are the norm.
I decided to write this book when I saw how a close friend struggled to balance home and work life and still frequently received abuse from patients as she dared to only work part-time (with over full-time hours). All the abuse made her question her own worth and capabilities and eventually she retired early. I felt the public needed to know what really happens behind the scenes of primary care. That GP’s and their staff are humans too with the same troubles and insecurities that all of us have.
Give a quote from the books, one that says little but speaks volumes.
Immediately an instant message pops up on the screen from Elaine, “Be careful with this patient, Dr Ellen. He was very agitated and verbally aggressive in the waiting area.”
Give a short summary of what the book is about.
It is a book detailing one week in the life of a female GP (primary care doctor) in the UK as she goes through a standard week of home and work life.
What genre is it?
This is a book of non-fiction.
How many pages is it?
Why do you think the readers will want to read it?
Because it gives them a view of primary care through the eyes of a doctor working in primary care.
Where are you located?
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of General Practice? Read it all in this eye-opening book and find out what it means to be a GP.
Diary of a Female GP slides back the curtains on UK General Practice before COVID-19.
Let Joni Martins take you behind the scenes of General Practice as only a doctor could. She describes a typical week in the life of a female GP as she goes about her life at home and at work.
Encounter grateful and pleasant patients, abusive and angry patients, emotional encounters with people at the End of their Life on earth.
Examine how a career and family life engage in battle.
Take a look behind the scenes of UK General Practice and let the truth revealed blow you away!
Based on real-life experiences.
Forty-three-year-old Darren walks in without knocking, his face like thunder, “This is absolutely ridiculous. Do you think I have all the time in the world? For me, time is money. If I take time off to see the doctor, I don’t get paid and I expect to be seen on time. The service you provide here is completely atrocious. This is unacceptable and I should go to my member of parliament over this.” Darren’s demeanour is such that images of cartoon characters with steam coming out of their ears come to mind.
No ‘hello’ or even giving me a chance to apologise first. No, Darren steamrolls his way into my room and airs his anger. He remained standing while he spoke, his posture aggressive and looming over me, an attempt to intimidate me further. Now he sits down, sliding down on the chair, his face still like thunder.
How can I save the situation? “I’m genuinely sorry to keep you waiting. You are absolutely right that it is unacceptable to keep you waiting for such a long time and I take full responsibility for that. I apologise sincerely.” I take a breath, “So what can I do for you today?” and hope my apology will calm him down a bit, the fact I agree it is unacceptable may take the wind from his sails.
“Well, I don’t really have the time for this, but now I’m here,” he takes out a piece of paper with writing on it. “First of all, I have an ingrowing toenail and want some antibiotics for that. Second, I have this nasty cough for the last week and need antibiotics to clear that. And the third problem is this rash on my leg that has been bothering me for a few weeks. It’s itchy and you need to do something about that.”
How should I deal with this? At the surgery, we maintain a simple rule, One appointment, One patient, One problem. Instead, Darren expects me to deal with three problems at the same time and I am already running late. Every problem deserves their own proper attention and trying to force three problems within one appointment may make this difficult.
I try to explain to Darren that we usually only allow one problem per appointment to allow it to get the attention it deserves, but I notice how he only gets more agitated and instead inform him we will deal with his problems today.
When I check his toenail, the nail is indeed growing in slightly, but it is not infected and does not require any treatment at the moment, “Daily bathing of the toe will help to avoid this getting infected. Just ten minutes in warm water and soaking it before dabbing it dry. If the toe does get infected after all, then please come back to have it checked.”
Darren sits up a little straighter, “Well that’s a bloody waste of time. I need you to give me some antibiotics for this now and make the wait worth my time. I haven’t got time to come back if it gets worse, I need this sorting out now.”
Next, we turn our attention to his cough. Darren doesn’t cough up any phlegm and has no temperature. His chest is clear on examination. Again there is no reason to prescribe antibiotics and this would be bad practice.
“You’re bloody no good. You call yourself a doctor?” Darren sits up even straighter and leans forward a little.
Darren’s last problem is the itchy rash on his leg. So far, he has not tried anything for it, instead he wants me to sort the problem for him. On examination there is mild eczema and I advise him to use a moisturiser for it. When I offer to write a prescription, Darren refuses and leans forward more, invading my personal space as he does, “You’re a bloody disgrace, you’ve kept me waiting for half an hour and have done nothing for me.” Darren stands up and struts out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
I let out a deep breath of relief and wonder how I could have handled that better. Hopefully, his rants are sufficient for him, but I fear more is to follow. Is this job even worth it?