When there’s no hospital nearby, and only one paramedic, providing emergency care becomes the job of the rural GP. “Minor surgery and emergency care… suturing are part of my day”, says Dr Rob Lambourn, chairman of the RCGP rural forum, who works in one of England’s most remote practices. “As a GP, we have to be skilled in all areas, including some intermediate care. We really do become ‘jack-of-all-trades’.”
Speaking to the 2018 DDA annual conference on the subject of ‘The future of rural general practice’, Dr Rob Lambourn highlighted the challenges of rural general practice. In a presentation that resonated with dispensing GPs, Dr Lambourn looked at the unique nature of rural GP practice: more long- term conditions such as diabetes/hypertension, specific rural illnesses such as snake and insect bites and poisoning, higher preventable death rates from conditions such as asthma and cancer, and less well controlled heart disease.
He also challenged GP policy architects to come up with a funding model that recognises the unique challenges of rural general practice, including the needs to buy in more equipment, pay more to incentivise qualified staff to work, and cover higher travel costs to reach patients living in remote areas of his practice catchment. “Funding ignores minor injuries/acute illness/terminal care,” he says.
View the full presentation.