The healing power of sewage
If there's one thing doctors are good at, it's talking to other doctors. We're like a big cuddly family, all sharing ideas, supporting each other, and generally showing off. Luckily I have made two new friends this week, both GPs in the North East who are also 'Sustainability Champions' like yours truly. We met on a (non-dating) webchat. Good times. I was impressed to learn from them that lots of other GP surgeries up and down the country are way ahead with the Green Impact project, taking the eco-friendly bull by its sustainable horns, and some practices have even received the Gold Award. Wow. Great to know that the green movement is sweeping the country and providing an excellent example for our hospital colleagues to follow.
Spurred on by my new eco-buddies, I have continued forming a non-disappointing-rail-esque network. I recently spoke to Dr Liz Tayler from the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO are really big on antibiotic resistance. Seriously. This basically means that the medication we use to treat some bacterial infections gets less effective the more we use it. A bit like a budget beard-trimmer. And nobody wants that. Not just for individuals who've used a lot of antibiotics, but for the population in general. The thing is, some bacteria are really quite clever. They sit in high-backed chairs stroking their white cats and nobody ever sees their face. They press a button, open a trapdoor and - boom - another victim succumbs. And then before they can be busted, they recognise their captor, completely change their appearance, and continue their evil work elsewhere.
As GPs we actually prescribe 80% of all antibiotics issued in the NHS. So we have a huge responsibility to do it correctly, because more antibiotics = more resistance, and more chance of C. Difficile infection (or 'C Diff' to refer to its rapper name). This infection gives a whole new meaning to diarrhoea. Enjoy your dinner.
So remember when you've received your prescription for this precious miracle-working antibiotic, you should finish the course. Don't keep a few extra tablets hanging around in your sock drawer for "a special occasion", or "just in case". Don't give them to your pal with the gammy toe. If you've had a liquid and there's some left over afterwards, take it to your lovely local pharmacist who will dispose of it correctly in their official cauldron. Please please don't flush it down the loo (people really do this!). Our rivers and sewers already have dangerous levels of antibiotics in them, and antibiotic-spiked sewage is absolutely not beneficial or healing in any way. The title was a joke. Sorry.