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TV Doc: “My aim is to cure if I can, but comfort always”

Dr Louise Jordan, the doctor from The Real Peak Practice - a BBC One documentary following a practice in Derbyshire for a year - told Nursing in Practice that while she aims to cure patients, comfort and compassion is paramount.

The programme, which aired nationally last night, showed Dr Jordan helping one of the oldest patient populations in the country as almost one in three of the patients at Baslow Health Centre is over 65. 

Due to the UK's ageing population, she said that there will be increasingly complex conditions to treat in general practice, but that in terms of compassion “all of us don't have a finite amount of sympathy but we can't run on dry, the more tired we get the more difficult it is to give compassion.

“We're running around chasing numbers and chasing bureaucracy and tick boxes, no one actually rewards you for giving good quality care… No one measures the time you spend comforting somebody, and my aim is to cure if I can, to alleviate if I can, but to comfort always.”

Talking about the two men who were filmed dying, John Ellis and Larry Pearson, the TV doctor said: “They both really wanted to do it and John Ellis, who had the neurological disease, was really, really keen that something good come out of his awful illness.

“Larry Pearson had also gone through it with his wife the year before and having had a son of his own trained in medicine I think he was very keen to make something good come out of his misfortune and try and help other people understand,” she added.

Discussing practice nurses, she said, “we're having real problems recruiting a new one because I think they're struggling to go into general practice. I think the training is often on the job and it'd be great to get more training for practice nurses. We have incredible practice nurses, they teach me - often more than I could teach them.”

Combining recruitment issues with problems such as seven day access and financial constraints, Jordan added: “I'm very worried with the crisis that's coming up… just somewhere along the line we've got to keep that vision and passion and vocation going.”