Case studies: Adam's story
Adam is a GP who recognises the essential role that GPs play in recognising the early symptoms of rheumatic conditions.
Simple tasks that are important to Adam:
Adam is fulfilling his childhood goal of being a family doctor. When undertaking a postgraduate rheumatology placement in a hospital, he realised how little this medical speciality had featured in his education. He now champions the specific role of GPs and primary care health professionals in the treatment of rheumatology patients.
Adam’s career: ‘Holby City wasn’t around when I was a child’
Adam can remember always wanting to be a family doctor, probably because that was the only sort of doctor he had come into contact with – there were no TV shows about hospital doctors! So Adam completed his medical degree and embarked on GP training. He was able to choose as part of this, a few six-month placements in hospital specialties. He chose rheumatology.
“I recognised that my medical degree had not prepared me for rheumatology, as it was a specialism that I knew almost nothing about when I started my training placement in the hospital”. Adam carried that interest through his postgraduate training, and even worked for a time as a rheumatology clinical assistant alongside his GP role as a young doctor.
Now, Adam finds that helping rheumatology patients as part of a regular GP practice enables him to continue working in this area of his medical interest.
The working life of a GP:
Adam sees around 15 patients a morning and 15 patients an afternoon, with some visits at lunchtime. There is paperwork to be kept on top of for rheumatology patients and others with long term conditions, including letters from hospital, prescription checks, routine follow-ups, and receiving test results.
Adam works with a primary care team including nurses and healthcare assistants, who provide vital continuity and assurance over the longer term for rheumatology patients and others. They do this by being a familiar point of contact, helping patients devise self-management plans, reviewing pain medication, and addressing wider wellbeing issues such as mental health.
“We can also provide services such as blood tests and joint injections, which means that rheumatology patients don’t need to go to hospital for these. The beneficial impact of this for people with long term conditions shouldn’t be underestimated!”
Adam’s Window of Opportunity: Spotting the early warning signs, and long-term support
“There are signs and symptoms that all GPs should be looking out for to spot possible rheumatic conditions at an early stage. Referring quickly to a rheumatologist can prevent irreversible joint damage and can even bring rheumatic conditions into remission, so our role in enabling speedy diagnosis and best outcome is critical.”
Adam also believes the other key GP role is on-going reassurance and support during what can be a very frightening time. “When I see patients taking ownership of their condition and taking positive steps to continue doing the things they enjoy with my help, it is really personally rewarding.”
Adam is sharing his story to highlight the essential role GPs play in spotting the early signs of rheumatic conditions, and providing continuity in managing these over the longer term.
The window of opportunity is key in finding the right treatment for millions of people with rheumatic conditions.
If you are inspired by Adam’s story, visit the
Take Action section to learn about your window of opportunity to help and what you can do to support the
Simple Tasks campaign.