North East England Blog

22 October 2020

Lilly Lamb, North East England Faculty Chair

Welcome to our RCGP North East blog. We are facing unprecedented times in General Practice due to the Covid-19 pandemic and I recognise many of you will have suffered significantly, due to the workload, the pressures of lockdown, having to juggle work with looking after elderly relatives and children, home schooling, the fear of contracting the virus and for those of us who have done so the fear of being very unwell, and of long term symptoms.

I was diagnosed with Covid-19 on the 17th March, right at the start of the pandemic and over 6 months ago. It was a huge shock, whilst I and my colleagues were aware of the virus and its consequences as we watched the news in Italy and China, and were concerned about continuing to see patients without PPE, I hadn’t expected the high temperature I developed that evening, and the subsequent positive swab. Thankfully I recovered fairly quickly, and whilst my whole family also contracted the virus we did not require admission, just several days of rest and several months of avoiding strenuous exercise which caused the symptoms to recur. I recognise that many in our region have not been so fortunate, many of us have lost colleagues, patients and loved ones during the pandemic, either due to COVID or due to other illnesses, but the experience of death during this time has gone against our basic human instinct to show physical affection and surround people with family and friends when they are suffering or at the end of life. I am sure we are all looking forward to a future where these restrictions are removed and we can go back to a more normal life, recognising the importance of our relationships with patients, colleagues, friends and family.

We have been privileged to work with Kathryn Mannix, palliative care consultant and author of ‘With the end in mind’, to deliver two webinars in recent months, discussing advanced care planning, dying and bereavement during Covid-19. These were attended by GPs, palliative are consultants, paramedics and nurses from all over the county, and highlighted the benefits of using technology to deliver accessible, cross specialty collaborative learning. Whilst we all miss the networking a face to face event can offer, using webinar as our method of CPD delivery has allowed us to significantly increase our event output. Thanks to our fantastic faculty administrator Clare Bartram we have run 24 events since April 2020 and have another 19 lined up before the end of the year! We are able to have up to 300 attendees on most of our webinars, and most of them have attracted audiences of around 150, far more than attended our face to face events.

Please see our events list for our upcoming sessions, including Leukaemia, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a lecture from our President Amanda Howe reflecting on how general practice can evolve and thrive, and Safeguarding. Please do get in touch if you have any suggestions for events you would like us to provide in the coming months.

As winter approaches I wish you all the very best, please make time for yourselves as things get busier, we need to treat ourselves with compassion in order to do the same for our patients, and I suspect the holistic, patient centred care we as GPs provide is going to be needed more than ever in the coming months.

Best wishes

Dr Lily Lamb
Chair North East England Faculty  

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