Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● DR Paul Bowen (left) is a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG): mean this in three ways.

Firstly, doc­tors and pa­tients of­ten feel that an ap­point­ment is wasted if it does not re­sult in a pre­scrip­tion, re­fer­ral, or test. Hav­ing a chat and de­cid­ing to do noth­ing, other than ob­serve and come back if things don’t set­tle can be mis­in­ter­preted.

The truth is that many things do get bet­ter on their own, and the back pain, sore throat or headache would have got bet­ter any­way even with­out the an­tibi­otic or painkiller we may have de­cided to pre­scribe.

In fact, we are not do­ing noth­ing, there is ei­ther noth­ing that can be done, or the won­der­ful hu­man body re­pairs it­self nat­u­rally. The skill, and dif­fi­culty, is know­ing when to do noth­ing.

Se­condly, telling our pa­tients to do ‘noth­ing’ is ex­tremely ther­a­peu­tic.

Many of us get stressed, anx­ious or de­pressed. Our lives are so busy that we see no choice but to try to squeeze ev­ery­thing in, mak­ing us more and more ill. I of­ten tell pa­tients to be self­ish, look af­ter your­self, and do noth­ing.

A sick note is a chance to rest, re­flect and re­cu­per­ate, and in many cases is far more ef­fec­tive that med­i­ca­tion or ther­apy.

Ac­cept­ing this ad­vice is of­ten dif­fi­cult, and adds to feel­ings of guilt, low self-es­teem and con­fi­dence. But in time, with sup­port­ive friends, em­ploy­ers, fam­ily and health pro­fes­sion­als, the mind can heal.

Lastly, some em­ploy­ers ac­cept and sup­port this con­cept of sick leave, oth­ers can put pres­sure on their staff which only wors­ens their con­di­tion.

Em­ploy­ers play a key role in sup­port­ing staff and must re­sist the urge to con­tact pa­tients dur­ing this time off – it usu­ally has ad­verse ef­fects.

As an em­ployer my­self, I’ve learnt the best thing I can do is noth­ing, other than send a box of choco­lates and a get well soon card!

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