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Doctoring is a whole different game after nightfall

By West Briton  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

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THERE are plenty of local GPs who still put the hours in after the surgery has closed, triaging, seeing patients in clinic or out in the cars.

After dark the calls have a very different flavour to the daytime ones.

Everything seems worse at night – the pain, despair, loneliness ... and that's just the doctors.

Luckily we have a great team of drivers to get us safely to the visits, manage all the medications and keep us company.

Having a driver sounds glamorous but it's not like Lord Sugar being driven around in a Rolls-Royce.

It is a Mondeo estate for a start, emblazoned with SERCO and NHS stickers with a 'doctor' light on top.

I doubt that people in dressing gowns tap on Sir Alan's windows and say: "As you are here seeing my neighbour would you mind having a look at me too?" or try to flag him down after closing time, mistaking him for a well-equipped taxi with a boot full of drugs to hand out.

On a recent night visit I examined a wheezy chap with a chest infection.

I was leaning on the mantelpiece to write a prescription when an innocuous-looking faux wooden box sprayed a toxic mist directly into my face.

"Take the drugs!" I wailed, thinking I had been pepper sprayed and was about to be robbed.

The patient's wife calmed me down, reassuring me that it was just an automatic air freshener. Well no wonder he's wheezing, I thought, as I hurried back to the safety of the car smelling like an explosion at a Lynx factory.

Later that night we were listening to the radio and I remarked to the driver that the DJ must feel pretty disgruntled about how his career had panned out.

He turned and looked at me, sniffed a few times and said: "Same could be said about you, doc."

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