“Everyone has a soapbox”

In my teenage years, I tried and failed at playing the virtuous vegetarian who would confidently challenge each carnivore I came across as to whether they knew “exactly” what went into their burger – hindsight is a wonderful thing and I can see now this former self of mine was more than a little irritating, and not just to my two brothers. But it wasn’t a long affair with high principles – a few years later I succumbed to the tantalising smell of a sizzling bacon on the morning-after-a-night-before, and the rest is, shall we call it …HogRoastGate? Various campaigns followed through medical school and junior doctor days but none I was passionate enough to want to put pen to paper, finger to mouse and mouth to err…microphone. Until now.

For 3 days a week I work as a GP in a busy moderately large GP practice in Oxfordshire. In my evenings/days off/weekend I squeeze in time to work on projects supporting my role of Clinical Fellow in Perinatal Mental Health for the RCGP ( Royal College of General Practitioners). Through this work, I have become increasingly passionate about improving the care for women and their families affected by mental health at the time they have children. Unfortunately up to 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 10 men are affected by mental health problem at this precious time in their life which everybody (including them ) expects to be overwhelmingly happy. It is estimated up to half of these cases go undetected and so many people miss out on receiving effective evidence based treatment for their mental health. The negative impact of untreated illness on all members of the family is significant and as well as many people with very moving personal narratives, the socioeconomic argument for more investment in services is very persuasive. So expect a lot of material on this subject as one that has prompted me to find my voice, both on-line and in front of large audiences.

A word of warning though, although my GP surgery days invariably contain drama, humour, pathos, tragedy – I won’t be sharing them here. The consulting room is a precious environment where absolute confidence in confidentiality is imperative to a trusting relationship between a doctor and a patient. Although I am sure the stories I hear would make you read on ( a treasure trove of click bait) , those narratives stay in my surgery, as do the discussions that go with them. Because with that trust comes the ability to open up and speak about things people may not even discuss with their nearest and dearest. Truely, you would not believe what some people tell me. Not just their clinical symptoms and health beliefs (some more medieval than medical science) but their deepest fears, past misdemeanours, current dilemmas and future hopes. I cherish the trust that comes with my position that allows this form of communication but am acutely aware how fragile it is. I work hard to maintain it throughout the Venn diagram that my life now is: the overlapping circles of the school gates, the consulting room, the drinks party. So what happens in the consulting room, stays in the consulting room.

Much like my daily schedule, this soapbox of mine is very much multitasking and multimedia with links to my work presented in blog posts, published articles, power point presentations, links to e-learning and other digital projects via social media among others. I still feel I am very much a digital tech novice, especially next to my 7 yr old when she is playing wih her friends and their mum’s Apple watch. And on the subject of children, I am still unsure about the inevitable charge of narcissism that comes from setting up your own website, particularly if you start talking about your gorgeous hilarious little darlings,. But we’ll see how it goes with the above material before tapping into my back catalogue of 7 years of parenting mishaps and misadventures.

That being said, I have an awful lot else to say so thanks for stopping by.

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