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Taking responsibility for our health

Taking responsibility for our health
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The NHS is in the news on a daily basis at the moment, either with news about its potential demise, or reports from patients about the shoddy level of service that they have received. And within the NHS, it’s not least the local doctor, the GP who comes under the firing line very frequently.

It is very easy to lay the blame at the doctor’s door, sometimes it is completely fair to do this, but in a huge number of situations it is simply a case of trying to shoot the messenger. GP’s are more often than not in situations where they are powerless and trying to do an impossible task.

Working long hours

Doctors still work notoriously long hours and are responding to an enormous variety of cases, many of which won’t have been specifically trained on. They are set the unenviable task of trying to assess, advise and empathise to one patient after another, in the time span of five minutes. Add to this, the modern frustrations of people not turning up to precious appointments, all sorts of other medical professionals phoning up throughout the day for much needed support, it becomes a bit easier to see why surgeries run late, with patients become critical and resentful.

Out Of Date Systems

Taking responsibility for our healthIt is yet another example of a system within our society that is out-dated and unable to keep up with the modern day demands. Most surgeries have little or no power to instigate more doctors or longer hours. Alongside other out of date systems, such as the education and benefits system, the task of overhauling the role and approach of the GP is enormous and will not be done in the near future.

So given that this unwieldy and frequently frustrating system is here to stay for now, what steps can we, the public take, as a way of taking responsibility for our own health as much as possible, rather than handing it over to the local quack?

What can we do?

Firstly we can do exactly that. We can eat well, exercise regularly, sleep enough and practice activities that promote wellbeing. Secondly, we can educate and inform ourselves of basic first aid and home remedies for common ailments like colds, stomach upsets and headaches. In a way, this is a call to return to times gone by when each family had a herb patch in their garden for medicinal reasons, as well as culinary ones. It’s a call to become empowered and self-responsive, rather than sustaining the victim role that patients across the country are finding and keeping themselves in. And thirdly we can exhaust all other options before turning to the doctor. Use the above mentioned home remedies and practices of self-care to maintain our own health to the highest possible standard. We can use alternative services such as NHS direct, we can take action and communicate directly with our local MP’s to specifically request the sorts of medical set ups that we would like.

Next time you feel like hurling the blame at your doctor for not being super human, pause a moment, consider how you would be performing under these conditions. Excessively long hours, frustratingly little quality contact time with patients and a hands tied set up when it comes to instigating positive and creative change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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