Adapting to change
An insight into life as a remote GP
Here at Bupa, we’re committed to making high quality healthcare accessible for all, now and in the future. As part of our commitment, we’re expanding our remote GP Services, allowing our customers fast access to the treatment they need from the comfort of their own home. We recently caught up with Eugene Lewis, Lead Physician for our remote services to find out what makes the role different.
So, before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been a doctor for 24 years and a GP for the last 18. Like the majority of my colleagues, I spent a lot of my career working for the NHS and I was lucky enough to have a portfolio career, doing a range of different roles. I joined Bupa in 2017 as I needed a bit of a break from the nonstop nature of the NHS, I was putting in a lot of extra hours to keep everything ticking over and I needed to prioritise my own wellbeing.
I never intended to stay, Bupa was meant to be just a temporary thing and I’d go back to the NHS, but I really enjoyed the nature of the work at Bupa, the workload was manageable, I was in control of what was going on and it was rare that I took my work home with me. Since then, I’ve done a couple of different roles, I’ve worked in Health Clinics and onsite for corporate clients before migrating to the remote GP service we set up in March 2020, at the start of lockdown, and now I’ve been lucky enough to become the lead for the service.
Why did you make the switch to remote services?
It wasn’t anything in particular actually! It was a necessity at the time to help people during the pandemic. What I like about it is the flexibility it offers. The systems were incredibly easy for our customers and I’d never worked from home before, so I’ve really enjoyed the extra time that offers me.
How does it contrast to seeing people face to face?
Well, you can’t really examine them in the traditional sense. That’s probably the main difference. I was always really proud of my examination skills, so not being able to do so meant I had to make some adjustments. But over time, I realised that a lot of what you’re able to get out of an examination is through conversation and it makes you think slightly differently about how you approach consultations. You spend more time talking, allowing the patient to feel more comfortable and they open up more and go into more detail about what’s troubling them – the longer appointments definitely help with this, we offer 15 minutes as standard or for complicated issues we can allow up to 30 so we can really go into detail.
What does a typical day look like?
We work via sessions, either a morning or day clinic and the start time is flexible to a degree. A full day would be 2, 4 hour sessions with an hour in the middle for lunch. Your working time is blocked out in 1 hour blocks, each with 4, 15 minute slots for patients to book on and the last set aside for your admin time so you get plenty of time with each patient and protected time for your admin meaning nothing ever rolls over at the end of the day.
The majority of our appointments are booked in advance, so you usually have your entire day planned out. We also provide consultations for our new Menopause Plan, so you get a good variety of work throughout the day. The menopause appointments are around 45 minutes, so tend to get booked up earlier but during that time you can really make a difference to someone’s life, coming up with a management plan and empowering them to take back control of their health.
Working remotely could feel isolating, what support is available?
I’d say there’s the same level, if not more support available for those working remotely! In clinics, you’re often back to back so you don’t get that time with your colleagues but we’ve actually got time built into our diaries at the end of each clinic, where we can get together, talk about the day and get advice from our peers – having this network really brings us together as a team and I speak to more people now than I did when I was face to face!
We have an entire network set up to support each other and as the lead for the service, I’m always on hand to support with anything people need. We also have an admin team who are real superstars, they’re really quick and responsive and take a lot of the paperwork away from the GP’s, allowing them to focus on their patients. We’re looking at expanding their remit so in the end our GP’s will just have to record notes on the system and the team will take care of the rest!
If you'd like to find out more about life as a Bupa GP, or see our current opportunities then click the link below.GP Roles