Dr Woods recent tragic death has I am sure made many people realise the debt of gratitude that we, his patients, owe him for the 20 years of dedicated care we received from him.
That he died enjoying his hobby is little consultation to his loved ones who are faced with life without him.
He cared for us with empathy when treating our illnesses, insecurities and hypochondria. There must have been countless times when he had to give reassurance to a patient who he knew was starting on his or her last journey.
His caring nature must have brought a heavy burden on him. Gone are the days when the sick person left the surgery clutching a bottle of pink liquid, which seemed to cure all ills. These days the number of illnesses seem to have multiplied a hundred fold.
The GP knows, it is likely, that the patient will return in a week’s time complaining of the side effects caused by the prescribed drugs, what then? Prescribe more tablets to take care of the side effects?
As if this was not enough, there is the myriad of paperwork demanded by the administrators of the NHS to perhaps justify their existence and maintain the service’s position as being one of the largest employers in the land.
Guidelines to be maintained, leaking roofs, problems with staff, long hours etc etc, all this is there to torment the head of practice.
We tend to think of doctors as somehow being immune to illness in the same way that we believe priests do not succumb to temptation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is, I believe, a higher incidence of GPs retiring early due to the nature of the profession and the demands made by it and their patients.
Geoff Wood spread himself too thinly. He sacrificed his health for ours.
Many he rest peacefully.
His grateful patient.