My new life as a GP in Qatar
By the time I leave the apartment, the sun is high in the sky and the day has started for many. The warm autumn sun greets my face. It will only get warmer as the day goes on.
The journey to work takes just over half an hour as I take the dual carriageway, past the largest hospital in Doha and through six sets of traffic-lights.
I arrive at the brick and concrete health centre. The architecture is typical of the 21st-century cityscape, and a constant reminder I’m in a strange country. The contrast with the beautiful seaside county of Devon, where I worked as a GP for four years after finishing the GP training programme, could not be greater. While I do miss working in the UK, especially the surroundings, the nature of the bureaucracy and the ever-increasing, unnecessary administrative workload in the UK persuaded me to look out for alternatives.
I greet the staff as I walk the long corridor to our office, then scan my finger-prints on a machine outside the door to show I have arrived for work. I go to my clinic and start the computer.
In contrast to a regular day back at my Devon practice, there are no letters or X-ray reports lurking on my desk for signature, or even electronic lab reports or referrals, because I dealt with them the day before during clinic.
I see my first patient for the day, a young patient with viral illness, quickly followed by a middle-aged man who just requires a repeat prescription, and then a young adult who has a dry itchy patch of eczema on his foot but is not bothered about a wheeze in his chest, audible from a few feet away. I tried to convince him in my broken and inadequate Arabic that it needs examining and treating. After some discussion he agrees to my suggested course of action.
Later an adult male comes in with a cough and wants a sick note, a much sought-after piece of paper among adults and school age children here. He claims he is feeling generally tired and can’t go to work, but I explain that his illness does not warrant a sick note. He becomes annoyed and demands the note, but with the help of an interpreter I am able to get my point across. He leaves the room reluctantly because ‘the other doctors always gave me a sick note before’. I find this kind of attitude differs from what I experienced with patients in the UK, who tend to accept a rules-based explanation.
A tea boy pops his head in to check if I need a cup of tea or coffee.
To read the rest of Dr Mudasar Khan's day, please visit Pulse Today