By the Way ... GPs Should Learn to Love Their Patients

Article excerpt

THE MOST important attribute for the doctor who wants to be a good GP is to like people. The man who inspired me to enter general practice, Dr James Scobie, used to say that, in some measure, you must love your patients.

And that's not difficult with some great characters.

One elderly man I came to love was under my care for about 20 years and had earned his living as an antiques dealer. I once asked him why he didn't drive a car, and he explained that he'd given up driving when he wrote one off in the 1920s when driving back from a nightclub. He'd turned the car upside down negotiating a new-fangled road hazard called a roundabout.

I asked him what the car was, and he told me that it was a Stutz Bearcat -- worth seeking out on Google ... Another of his stories was that when he went to Jersey for his honeymoon (some years after the car incident), he flew from Heston aerodrome (Heathrow hadn't been thought of) in a Dragon Rapide biplane, telegraphing ahead to check the state of the tide so that they could land on the beach. …