My protector when I needed protecting. A #mygreatGP story

Hi, I am not a doctor – in fact I am a long term patient, being diagnosed with depression one year ago.

My GP at my local surgery is amazing. She saved my life – probably literally as you never know where you might end up when your in the dark tunnel on your own. But also my career, my marriage, the relationship I have with my children.

The more I look back, the more I realise how ill I was. I didn’t see that at the time, she did. Her expertise as a practitioner, her care and how she has supported me throughout my treatment has, one year later, left me feeling empowered and increasingly independent in managing my own care. She will always say it was my hard work, but it wasn’t – it was team work, her ability to move between knowing when I needed her to take charge of my care and when I was ready to take responsibility.

She was my coach when I needed a coach, and my protector when I needed protecting.

When I was having a very very very big wobble (found a lump, not a great thing for someone with high anxiety!!) I know she pulled rabbits out the hat to get the results back to me so I was reassured and OK!

Yesterday, I found out she is moving and we discussed how my old career (teaching) and her career can only become manageable by having multiple responsibilities and not just working full time in one career.

OK so frankly, I’m gutted. Not for me (well, that’s a lie, I am – I was looking forward to the day we could decide together I didn’t need the pills anymore). But frankly her care saved my life, and the way the career now is, she feels that being a full time GP is unsustainable.

So, as a result, there might be another mid 20s male who cannot cope…or 30 year old mum, or 16 year old teenager….and they wont get the treatment I get. Because more and more GPs, and totally understandably, find full time GP an unsustainable career. This makes me sad and angry. I come from education where we are loosing talent by the buckets every year, and thats bad enough, but loosing talent in medicine means this – more people will die, or continue to fight long term conditions on their own.

My GP saved my life and we need more like her to save others.

Neil Gilbride
A patient