Rachael Crawford is a 29 year old general practitioner for NHS Highland. Here a day in her life.
I usually wake before 7am and leave the house just after 8am depending on where I am working that day. I work for NHS Highland as a rural fellow through a scheme promoted by NHS Education Scotland, designed to give newly-qualified GPs a taste of life and work in a rural setting.
I am attached to Brora and Helmsdale surgery in Sutherland for most of the time, but for several weeks during the year I get to travel further afield and work in more remote practices, which includes Durness and Kinlochbervie/Scourie.
Morning surgery starts at 8.30am, initially with a number of urgent or “on-the-day” appointments and then with routine appointments until around 11am. Following morning surgery, I try to grab a coffee from the staff room and sift through the triage, which involves dealing with medication requests, prescription authorising, doing sick notes, telephone consultations and seeing any extra patients who have been unable to get an appointment if all the slots are filled for the day. Depending on numbers, this can take up to a couple of hours as there’s only one doctor on site (except Mondays, when there are two). It is different in north-west Sutherland, where due to lower patient numbers we have less demand for appointments and more time is spent being on call for emergencies.