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Working as a GP

Dr Sam Adcock shares his experiences of working as a GP in Leicester.
Hi, my name’s Sam Adcock. I am a GP in Leicester and I also work at the university as one of the clinical lecturers and one of the admissions tutors. One of the things I really love about GP is the continuity. So now I’ve been a GP here for 10 years. I know the patients well, they know me well, they know they can trust me, they know I’m reliable, they know if I say or do something I’ll get it done. And it helps actually, it makes my job really rewarding. I know how all the families interact. I know that their mum died five years ago and I helped look after them.
And I know that they’ve had a miscarriage before without needing to ask, and they know that I know, and it’s all very good.
And then it’s really, actually, really good medicine. So actually, in the last ten years I’ve come up with some amazing diagnoses that I’ve seen and found and amazed not only the patients, but myself with. But it’s rewarding. I’m seeing lots of different health problems, it’s really interesting. And no two days are the same. So I never have two days in the surgery where I see the same mix of patients, the same mix of people, the same diagnoses. And it’s got a good work-life balance. So over the last ten years, I’ve varied my working pattern from three days a week to five days a week in order to help look after my two boys, who are now almost off to school.
And it’s been really good, actually. I’ve managed to have a good career. I’m achieving lots. Actually, I’ve been there for my kids. I can pick them up from school. I can look after them. I can do their bath time. I can read to them. And actually, to me, that’s more important than I ever thought it would be. And actually, it allows me to have the best of both worlds, to be honest. What do I contribute as a GP? I guess people trust me. You can make a real difference. So some specialties it can be really obvious how you save a life, how you make a difference, but in GP it’s probably a bit more subtle. Sometimes it’s really obvious.
You see a child with meningitis, and you spot it, and you send them in quickly– its obvious you’ve saved a life. But actually, sometimes you save a life by convincing people to take their blood pressure tablets when they don’t want to, to stop smoking and prevent that cancer, and actually it’s really rewarding. I feel like I make a difference to the patient’s lives, I can support them. And actually, I can make a real difference in the community that I’m in. I can change the healthcare system for that community, that cohort of people. And people listen to you. I remember someone just recently came back to me and she– I remember about eight years ago she’d been diagnosed with lymphoma.
And she was really struggling with the chemo, and she was ready to give up and say, actually, I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t remember having a chat with her, but I clearly did have a chat with her. And she came back and I saw her. She’s just got pregnant with her first baby. And she said, you know what, Dr. Adcock? It was what you said that enabled me to get through that chemotherapy. Without that I wouldn’t have been able to get through. But actually, it sort of brought it home to me that we really do help people in different ways. It can be in surgery. But actually, the greatest tool of a doctor is talking and communication.
And if you do that well, it is great.

Watch this video which shows Dr Sam Adcock, who shares his experiences of working as a GP in Leicester.


While watching the video, note what Sam appreciates the most about working as a GP. Think about what aspects of his work you might value – for example, do you enjoy communicating and getting to know people, or do you like the feeling of knowing you’ve helped someone? You can share your thoughts in the comments area.

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