SMMGP - Substance Misuse Management Good Practice

Substance Misuse Management Good Practice

Supporting good practice in drug and alcohol treatment

Post-its from Practice:
Sliding doors (Aug 2012)

Many of you will have read Dr Chris Ford's "Post-its from Practice" column over the years and it is a privilege to be asked to take over from her. When thinking about what to write about for this first column I started reflecting on how the little decisions we make can have ramifications for a long time - the "sliding doors" phenomena. Mine involved choosing a place to sit. Over a decade ago I and a couple of other Birmingham based GPs heard about an organisation called SMMGP that was organising some training about working with crack users. As there wasn't much training about this; and it was a growing problem; we signed up and came down for a day in the Big Smoke.

Coming in to a fairly crowded room at the last minute as per usual, I recognised a GP from London who always asked challenging questions at the RCGP substance misuse conferences, and next to her was an empty chair so I sat in it. That was the first time I had talked to Chris Ford and throughout the course of that morning I was impressed by her knowledge, passion and compassion.

Over lunch Chris started talking to one of the other GPs about shared care and it was obvious that she wanted them to deliver a talk at the RCGP college. "Rather you than me" I thought. Unfortunately it transpired that this person would be on holiday that day. At this point Chris turned to me and said "Well you will have to do it then" which is when I discovered another thing about her, she is impossible to say "no" to!

Since then I am proud to say that not only has she been an on-going inspiration to me, she has been my mentor, colleague and very dear friend. Somehow I don't think she will sit quietly in retirement but will continue to prick the pompous, goad the gainsayers and love, cherish and support those who can't always stand up for themselves. Please see YouTube link below for details! I wish her all the best and with a little trepidation I will attempt to fill the space she has vacated.

As for me, that brief conversation with Chris all those years ago opened up the fascinating world of managing substance misuse in general practice to me, which has greatly enriched my experience as a jobbing GP. But more about that in future Post Its.

- Dr Steve Brinksman
Birmingham GP, SMMGP Clinical Director, RCGP Regional Lead in Substance Misuse for the West Midlands

P.S. See Chris on YouTube representing IDHDP at the July AIDS 2012 conference in Washington.