A light bulb moment

light bulb

A great light bulb idea from a GP who “did not train for 7 years to become less human.” Instead he “trained for 7 years to acquire more, to acquire more skills … [He] did not train for 7 years to become less”.

This was after an incident when a bright, enthusiastic, knowledgeable GP registrar turned up her nose after the GP changed a light bulb on a home visit to a recently bereaved woman, whose arthritic hands were not up to this important DIY task.

Apparently the Registrar said that she had not trained for 7 years to change light bulbs. “If she’d wanted to change light bulbs she could have trained as an electrician, or even – yes, she would come out with it – as a nurse or occupational therapist.”

So the GP “kept his peace” and bit his tongue … because it would not have helped at that moment.

But he thought what this post started with. And it bears repeating:

This GP did not train for 7 years to become less human. Instead he trained to acquire more, to acquire more skills. He definitely did not train for 7 years to become less.

So why does the current NHS put so much pressure on doctors to do less?

To race through ‘one-problem-only’ consultations. Not to work holistically.

Certainly not to change a light bulb – even though that could help prevent people falling in the dark, and so help prevent broken hips – with all the pain, expense and hospital admissions that would inevitably follow.

All those patient-centred platitudes about health services. When often the focus is not the slightest bit patient-centred!


The GP who wrote this has published lots more, which looks equally good – see here – including contributing to a clinical handbook for GPs about Working with Vulnerable Groups.




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