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Defeat the Seat!

Updated: Jun 13

As pledges to increase appointments and reduce waiting lists abound during the ramp-up to July's General Election, OSMP was one step ahead as we have already recently extended our opening hours to 7am-7pm Monday to Thursday to give patients more opportunity to access healthcare outside the traditional working day.

Long waiting lists in hospital are due to staff shortages and the recruitment crisis facing the NHS in general (more about what the main political parties are considering at the The Health Foundation). We are trying really hard to make our surgery an attractive and supportive place for current and prospective staff, so we can continue to prioritise providing excellent healthcare without harming the planet.

But how do we add frills to the work environment? Well, there's no getting around the fact that being a GP is sedentary job, when compared with the hospital jobs we all did during our training involving pounding long corridors for 12 hour shifts, and accruing tens of thousands of steps. I can tell you that from 2006-2008 during my first 'House Officer' jobs if someone had offered me a chair and a desk to do my work I would have collapsed in weeping gratitude into their (probably horrified) arms.

Now though, GPs are trying to reduce sitting-time as much as possible; we know that being active is better for our physical and emotional wellbeing, and we give this same advice to patients working from home, too. One simple change we've made is the standing desk (you'll see we have these in the 2 downstairs consulting rooms, plus one in the dispensary, and we have another on the way). Local residents will also be used to seeing the Registrars and me walking round the village doing our weekly tutorials. As well as discussing current medical guidelines and doing role plays (where I often get to be an even more cantankerous version of myself), this includes learning about the village and its amenities such as the library, cafe, village hall, WI, bus stops, and what is available over-the-counter in the local shop and pharmacy for patients. And obviously we enjoy watching the village change through the seasons, as front gardens provide a burst of colour from spring bulbs all the way through fiery autumnal foliage, to wintery berries.

Now, as well as making the working day more 'active', we also try hard to extend this ethos into our home lives. So with this in mind, Dr Lauren Roberts set up a group challenge for us on Strava called 'OSMP: The Big Move', to see how many hours of activity we can achieve over 6 months. Under the loose veil of it being a supportive, encouraging team activity, it's clearly going to be fiercely competitive as we try to outdo each other by squeezing in a quick run here, a cheeky cycle-ride there, and plenty of other forms of exercise as well: so far (and I'm writing this on only day 3) we've logged outdoor swimming, indoor swimming, salsa, walking, and yoga. I'm waiting with excitement for the first person to tick off kitesurf or inline skate ^belly-laughs^.

We're really focusing on lifestyle in our consultations as well. Our recent 'Healthy Eating' drop-in events received overwhelmingly positive feedback and patients have asked for more of these. Whilst we work out how to make this happen, there are lots of ways we can all get more active locally, with plenty of ideas on the i-travel website, the Visit York website, and for those of us wanting to make our desk jobs more active, there's lots here about alternative ways of sitting (yes really!), and if you're unable to easily stand or walk, no need to feel left out as there are lots of options for seated workouts such as this one. Please speak to your GP or nurse for more ideas about how to get fit to improve your physical and mental health.

And of course you can ask us who's in the lead for our 'OSMP: the big move' challenge!

Right, off to get some steps in...

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