Talk Report: 2015-12-02

Health and Wellbeing in Wells Dr Campbell Murdoch

On Wednesday 2nd December Dr Campbell Murdoch of the Wells Heath Centre came to our monthly meeting at the Wells Museum to talk to us. Representing both of the Wells Practices, he wanted to tell us about the new approaches to health care which are being developed in the Mendip area, and nationally. He also wanted to hear the audience's opinions and thoughts on these.

Our National Health Service, with its many problems of stressed staff and huge budget restrictions, faces meltdown unless there is a radical change of approach. Dr Murdoch told us that focus must be on health and not disease, and on us not just as "Humans not patients”! The health service has tended to “over-medicalise” and thus to unintentionally de-humanise, but there is now a golden opportunity to develop a new model of healthcare. The future of NHS must enable care of the whole person, allowing us to look after our own health and wellbeing.

As a background to the new thinking we were given a rapid but fascinating history of medicine and its ever-changing approaches to healthcare. Over the last few decades, for all sorts of reasons, we have come to expect doctors to focus simply on our bodies, reacting to our worries with a prescription or with a recommendation for further physical tests. Doctors have come to be seen as the dispensers of pills, and clearly pills are not always the answer.

Our health and wellbeing encompasses all aspects of our lives. It involves our body but it is also our environment and our lifestyle: what we eat, our activities, our interests and families, our work and play. In the new healthcare system that Dr Murdoch described we could be able to approach a range of members of a health and wellbeing team, rather than just our GP when we feel that we need help. A GP appointment lasts 10 minutes and there is a limit to what can be achieved in this time. A Health and Wellbeing Centre could ensure we are able to access the service that best suits us, perhaps helped by a knowledgeable and supportive “health connector” or “health signposter”.

There are costs and hurdles when attempting to achieve this vision. But the approach human needs during the brief consultation. Both of our health practices in Wells are interested in the new thinking, and we were told that practices across the Mendip regionare in discussion to help ensure that our health care services evolve and develop.

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