It was great to join the annual Horsham Riverside Walk. Brilliantly run for years by the Town Community Partnership the Scouts have kindly taken on the task.
We were fortunate with lovely weather to be able to loiter along the route including Warnham Local Nature Reserve and Chesworth Farm, who (among their many tasks!) are establishing a new wildflower garden and “Bugingham Palace” to further support bio-diversity.
The walk is just one of so many around Horsham - great assets when we are being encouraged to take exercise to support both physical and mental health.
We are all focussed on ensuring patients get to see their GPs, rapidly in an emergency and quickly in any event. Although Horsham tends to rank better than the national averages in surveys on appointment times, these do vary between practices.
Difficulties reflect not only past failings in training, and issues in retaining, enough GPs but how medicine has changed. As we all, on average, live longer we develop complex conditions. The good news is we are living longer and these concerns can, now, often be treated - but this rightly requires extra time and resource .
What we mustn’t neglect is the Holy Grail of primary care - spending time preventing illness rather than addressing emergencies.
Visiting Orchard Surgery I was deeply impressed by the positive impact their Social Prescribers are having. Social Prescribers in longer appointments take a wider look at the issues that can be impacting someone’s overall health, seeking to tackle longer term issues such as loneliness, fitness and wider wellbeing. This has a valuable role to play in addressing underlying issues and helping prevent ill-health. In a similar way a clinical pharmacologist is an absolute specialist in ensuring the right drugs regime is being prescribed. No one for a minute should think that these additional disciplines replace the vital GP service we all need – but they can add extra value to Doctor and patient.