I mention these facts for 2 reasons. One of my daughters recently changed GPs. In the UK it’s easy to do, and you don’t even have to let your GP know you are doing it. She changed her GP practice due to a conflict over getting a flu vaccination for one of her young children. The child’s school had said it should be done by a GP, the GP said they wouldn’t do it as it was available to children at school. Now my daughter is aged 34 and from a generation that appears to know best, knows what they want, and have no problem expressing their expectations in person, on-line, by phone, and often do so with utter conviction they are right. I know as I’m her Dad.
For many years I have been trying to promote a greater understanding of what the practice of health care means in relation to the science of health care. The second reason for my noting the GP data above comes from a fantastic example of what I mean by the practice/science dichotomy. Last week, after I published my blog I received a Twitter DM. It was a message that came from a man I have never met. He told me of how his thinking had changed after reading a blog I had posted way back in 2010, which included a comment on a wonderfully courageous young lady I had met who described her experience of receiving mental health care over an 8 year period.
When I met her she was 19 years old and talked of the care she had received from her GP, which she described as being un-remitting, constant and reliable. Hearing her account made me think more about the notion of unconditional positive regard (UPR) for others, and this is what I was commenting upon. UPR is a concept I have tried to employ over many years in my clinical practice, as a manager, leader and educator. It was this young ladies GP who contacted me and he told me at the time he was reading my blog, he wasn’t familiar with the UPR.
The GP who contacted me works for one of the most exciting organisations providing health care in Manchester. Here is a quote from their website – The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or Leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. We can cure physical disease with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love - They have further developed the notion of UPR in their work and now promote and live the notion of ‘relentless kindness’. Just have a look at their website and be truly inspired!