Retired GP in Lockdown

OC Philip Dawson (P71) gives us an insight into life during lockdown from the perspective of a retired GP

“I have been retired now for 6 years. I stopped being a GP in November 2013 and came off the General Medical Council register in April 2014. I thought my days as a GP were done. Thirty-Two years General Practice in Mid Sussex is a long time.

However, with the COVID-19 crisis I was surprised to receive an email from the GMC to say I had been re-licenced and was I prepared to return to General Practice after a considerable career break? I was told there were 22,000 ahead of me in the queue but I would be contacted in 3 days. The next email said there were 27,000 people in the queue. It is probably to the benefit of mankind that I have not been called up nor put in front of a computer again!

Some of us will remember ‘Flu jabs given by Dr Butcher in Great Comp in 1968 for the Hong Kong Flu epidemic.

The last potential pandemic was the SARS virus in 2003. There were people quarantined then. And I remember practising with the PPE equipment then as well. As a result I was delegated to do the first potential SARS visit in the practice. For the patient’s neighbours seeing the local GP arrive for the visit, put on the full PPE, and then go in to visit a sick child must have sent out a certain message.

As a result of lockdown I have enjoyed simple memories. I’ve dusted down ancient music and played the piano. I've loved being in the garden, hearing the bird song, watching the bats flying in the evening and seeing the azaleas bloom.

There is a story about two public school boys who met up in a bar in South America:
“Do you remember the great flu epidemic when all the boys were sick with flu except Smith?”, asked the first man.
“Yes”, the second replied, “We shouted ‘Smith’ instead of the usual call”.
At this the barman leaned forward and said, “Yes, I remember that epidemic too… I’m Smith”.

I wonder what I shall remember about this pandemic?

It will probably be, when on ZOOM:
• Always mute yourself
• Don’t sit still for too long or they’ll think you’ve frozen
• Never do group singing, chanting or prayers

Stay well and take great care. The worst diseases always leave some survivors so that the disease can continue to propagate. Just aim to be a survivor. And if you think lockdown doesn’t work, count the number of colds you’ve had recently. It’s likely to be a lot lower.”

Philip Dawson (P71)