Dr Suzy Bowie is a GP based in the small village of Hillswick in the north of Shetland. We see her on a home visit to Frances who has a cataract and in her surgery carrying out a check-up on a pregnant woman called Esme.
Q. What training does a GP have?
A. He or she will have spent five years as a student, both in university and gaining experience in hospitals and in the community and then qualified as either a Bachelor of Medicine (MB or BM) or a Bachelor of Surgery (BS, ChB or BCh).
To practice medicine, all doctors must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). You can check whether or not a particular GP is currently registered to practise by consulting the GMC’s website. Click on ‘Search the Register’.
To become a GP a doctor needs at least another three years’ training, with the time divided between work in hospital and in general practice.
For more information about these and further qualifications for GPs see the website of the Royal College of GPs
Q. How is the role of the GP changing?
A. For most people the GP is their main point of contact with health services - 8 out of every 10 patient contacts are with GPs and 99% of us are registered with a GP.
The NHS site gives a useful diagram and explanation of the structure of the new NHS and shows how GPs fit into this.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the new contract for GPs and what this will mean for patients and the service. The BBC news site has a useful summary of the views and reactions of the various groups involved while this is the reaction of the doctors’ professional organization, the BMA:
Q. How common are cataracts and how difficult is it to remove them?
A. The older someone is, the more likely they are to suffer from age-related cataracts. It is estimated that around 71% of people over the age of 85 years old have a cataract bad enough to affect their sight. The NHS Direct Online Encyclopaedia gives comprehensive information about cataracts and cataract surgery as does the BBC health site: conditions and BBC health site ask the doctor.
This website is provided for general information only. You should not treat it as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.
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The BBC and the Open University are not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor do they endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you are in any way concerned about your health.
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Entrepreneurial GPs have set up a variety of entities to provide additional services to their local patients. This has the advantage of providing an additional income stream, increasing utilisation of the surgery, and deterring other providers from setting up competing services. (External website removed by OpenLearn Moderator 21.10.15)