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The only fixed camera rig series on British television to be filmed inside a working general practice providing an intimate portrait of a busy doctor’s surgery in London with over 18,000 patients. Touching, honest and at times hilarious, the series shows people at their most vulnerable, sharing incredibly intimate details or coming to terms with life-changing illnesses. It takes a vivid look at the stresses, strains and joys of being on the medical frontline, with unprecedented access to the cases that doctors deal with every day from sore throats to suicidal thoughts.
Broadcasted every Wednesday @ 8pm on C5, averaging 1.3 million/5% share.
Tape & format rights also available. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 1
In this programme, we meet Sherece – a hysterical patient in the grip of a full-blown panic attack who is so confused and terrified that she’s barely able to leave her own home. Dr Sara Kayat knows her patient also has a history of depression and must come up with a treatment plan fast if she’s to prevent Sherece from slipping back into self-destructive behaviour.
Across the corridor, Dr Claire Taylor, has a life-threatening situation on her hands. Her patient Zahara is a chronic asthmatic and has staggered into the surgery in the midst of a severe asthma attack. With only the surgery’s limited emergency equipment at her disposal, Dr Taylor must call upon her extensive medical training if she’s to keep her patient breathing and conscious.
Dr William Laird's patient John has a persistent stomach complaint that’s left him unable to eat more than a couple of boiled eggs every three days.
A concerned Dr Laird books his fatalistic patient in for further investigation at the hospital and, later in the episode, John returns to hear the results. The news is not good and, in a harrowing and unflinching sequence, we witness Dr Laird inform John that he has stomach cancer. Dr Laird tries to console John that this isn't the end for him (his cancer is treatable), but the shutters have already gone up and, as he leaves the consultation, John vows to end his own life rather than endure a drawn out terminal illness.
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GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 2
In this episode Dr Sarah Glynne encounters her first ever case of ‘cyber bullying’. Her patient Aaron, a man in his thirties, has been victimised online and it’s triggered a severe bout of depression that’s left him suffering suicidal thoughts. Dr Glynne must put her emotions to one side and clinically assess how much of a danger Aaron poses to himself.
Meanwhile what should be a routine consultation takes a shocking turn for Dr Eleanor Beecraft. Alan, a Hepatitis B sufferer, has come in for a repeat prescription but it’s immediately apparent that something is seriously wrong. Alan is bruised, confused and incoherent. With Alan slipping in and out of consciousness, Dr Beecroft suspects a drugs overdose and must act quickly to avert a potentially life-threatening situation.
Later Dr Sara Kayat has a heart-rending consultation with Charlie, a long-term alcoholic who has arrived at the practice armed with a can of super strength lager. During their discussion, Charlie describes the string of tragic events that have led to his life coming off the rails - including the suicide of his brother.
Dr William Laird also has a tricky case on his hands in the form of William, a depressed young man who hasn’t worked for ten years. Dr Laird suspects William’s marijuana addiction lies at the heart of his problems and must attempt to instill a sense of self-belief into his forlorn patient, getting him to realize he still has a productive and fulfilling life ahead of him.
Later, spunky teenager Nathan informs Dr Sara Kayat Nathan that he suffers pain whilst masturbating. The only way for Dr Kayat to assess the situation is to roll up her sleeves and examine the offending foreskin herself.
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GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 3
The first patient into the Balham Park consultation rooms this week is Colin, an older gentleman suffering from excruciating groin pain that’s left him barely able to walk. Colin’s worried something is seriously wrong but for Dr Shital Shah this is an open and shut case. Colin has a hernia that can be easily treated and he leaves the surgery having had a huge weight lifted from his mind.
Meanwhile Shital’s colleague Dr Previna Chana has a more sinister case to deal with. Her patient Maureen has come in complaining of blood in her stools, which she assumes is being caused by her haemorrhoids. Dr Chana’s not so sure and some detective work reveals a marked history of stomach cancer in Maureen’s family. Alarm bells immediately start ringing and Dr Chana refers Maureen to hospital for an urgent cancer screening.
Dealing with the damaging affects of alcohol on their patients' health is an all too common occurrence for the Balham Park GPs. Dr Heather Watson’s patient Angela has been attempting to drink her way out of her low mood but has only succeeded in making herself even more depressed. Worse still, Angela’s been forgetting to take her hypertension medication and as a result her blood pressure has gone through the roof.
Across the corridor Dr Chris Pearce is treating Russ, a healthy looking young man who, after a drunken fall, has badly bruised his leg. Dr Pearce quizzes Russ about his drinking habits and they discover, to their mutual surprise, that Russ is drinking 25 pints a week! Time for the doctor to issue an urgent wake up call if Russ is to avoid serious liver damage.
Also in the show: an older female patient suffering from chronic bloating and wind sees Registrar David Sayer in the hope he can determine what might be causing her embarrassing gas leaks.
And Dr Sara Kayat tries to get to the bottom of a mysterious case of ‘swimmer's itch’. Are the red marks covering her patient’s torso a form of psoriasis or has this athletic young man fallen prey to a parasitic infestation?
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GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 4
It’s very common for patients to have a hidden agenda when they go to see the Balham Park Surgery GPs. Jordon is a young lady newly arrived in the UK from New Zealand who, it seems, has come to see Dr Heather Watson seeking treatment for nothing more serious than hay fever. However during the consultation a tearful Jordon reveals that what she needs most is professional help in coming to terms with the recent, and sudden, death of her mother. With no family or close friends in the UK to turn to, Jordon has been soldiering on alone with her grief and it’s taken a heavy emotional toll.
Another patient struggling with bereavement this week is Paul whose mother recently passed away after a prolonged illness. The ordeal of nursing his mother during her final months has left Paul overweight, depressed and with suicidal thoughts. During the consultation, Dr Patrick Bower Paul is surprised by his patient’s in-depth knowledge of mental heath diagnoses, until Paul reveals that he is a qualified psychotherapist. What follows is a fascinating insight into how a GP treats a fellow health professional.
Meanwhile, Malcolm has come to see Dr Eleanor Beecraft about his hearing but mentions in passing that there is a history of heart problems family. It transpires that no fewer than six of his close family died young as a result of heart attacks! Dr Beecraft is concerned to say the least.
The importance of patient’s family history in medicine is also underlined in Dr Sarah Glynne’s consultation with Jonathan who suspects he may be suffering from Marfan’s Syndrome. His grandfather was diagnosed with Marfan’s and Jonathan is understandably anxious to find out whether or not he too is at risk from this life-threatening genetic disorder which affects the body's connective tissue.
Dr Sara Kayat attempts to carry out a breast examination on an older patient called Gohar. Only problem is, Gohar is incredibly ticklish and creases up with laughter every time the doctor touches her.
Also, Dr Bower Patrick Bower meets a recovering alcoholic who is mysteriously gaining weight despite being ‘on the wagon’ for several months.
And Dr Marietta Swanne treats a young lady who’s ankle has swollen up dramatically. The suspected culprit? A venomous insect.
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GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 5
In this episode, Dr Eleanor Beecraft meets Shelley, a young woman who is complaining of pain during sex and vaginal bleeding. The doctor must examine her worried patient quickly in order to out the possibly of an STI or even cervical cancer.
Meanwhile, Dr Claire Taylor is in consultation with Juliette, a tearful young mother who is having problems breastfeeding her second baby. Juliette needs to take painkillers to tackle her chronic back pain and is literally worrying herself sick that she may be passing the drugs through her milk and thereby harming her baby. As a mother herself, Dr Taylor can empathize with her patient’s dilemma and passes on the message that although ‘breast feeding is best’, that‘s only true if it’s not to the detriment to a mother’s well being.
Dr Sarah Glynne must take emergency action when her patient Lisa comes in complaining of numbness and extreme pain in her lower back and legs. After a thorough examination Dr Glynne sends Lisa to A&E for a scan which confirms her diagnosis. A bulging disc is putting pressure on Sarah’s spinal chord – a condition that can potentially cause paralysis – and she requires immediate surgery.
Dr Heather Watson’s patient Jessica has been struggling with anorexia since she was teenager. Dr Watson weighs Jessica and is relieved to discover that she has gained weight and is on track to reach her target BMI. The consultation then takes an unexpected turn when Jessica unveils a colorful, hand painted banner that she’s created in order to visually represent her long road to recovery.
Across the corridor, Dr Chris Pearce is assessing his patient Andy’s test results and the news isn’t good. Andy’s long-term use of steroids (to combat his ulcerative colitis) has led to the onset of Osteoporosis in his spine and legs. On the bright side, Andy is young to have Osteoporosis (which increases the risk of bone fractures) and Dr Pearce is optimistic that, with the right treatment, the prognosis is hopeful.
Later Dr Swanne examines Claudine who has abdominal pain and who has been losing weight in an alarmingly short space of time. Dr Swanne wants to rule out the possibility of a cancer and refers Claudine to a specialist using the fast track ‘two week referral’ system. This guarantees that Claudine will be scanned for cancer within a fortnight and treated early if necessary.
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GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 6
In this episode, Dr Sian Morris’ treats Patricia, a patient with a suspected urine infection. However, what seems to be a straight-forward consultation takes an unexpected turn when a tearful Patricia reveals that she has recently lost her husband to cancer. As her patient gives vent to her grief, Dr Morris becomes a much-needed shoulder to cry on – a role that GPs must often adopt.
Emotions are also running high in Dr Sara Kayat’s consultation room. Her patient Malagorzta is a Polish lady who gave birth just six weeks ago. In for a post-natal checkup, a distressed Malgorzata tells Dr Kayat that she and her husband have separated since the birth. Malgorzata is now living in temporary accommodation, trying to stay strong for her children but the strain she is under is beginning to affect her mental health.
Mental health is also on the agenda in Dr Eleanor Beecraft’s consultation room. Cyber bullying victim Aaron (last featured in episode two) has returned to the surgery and is still depressed and potentially suicidal. The sleeping tablets he was prescribed on his last visit have been giving him nightmares so Dr Beecraft must come up with a different approach if she’s to get Aaron back on an even keel.
Dr Claire Taylor is also treating a returning patient. Mother of two Lisa (last featured in episode 5) is still in excruciating pain despite having undergone emergency surgery to rectify a bulging disc in her spine. A thorough examination reveals some extremely worrying symptoms. It’s quite possible that the bulging disc is putting pressure on Lisa’s spinal chord – a syndrome that can lead to paralysis. Dr Taylor is straight on the phone to the neurosurgeons at St George's Hospital, insisting that they see Lisa straight away.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 7
When a patient refuses to take the medication they need because of their religious beliefs, it can place their GP in a near impossible position. In this episode, Dr Sara Kayat meets Usman who suffers from epilepsy. In order to control his condition, Usman needs to take regular medication but it’s Ramadan and, as a devout Muslim, Usman is reluctant to break his fast by swallowing tablets and water during the daylight hours. Dr Kayat, is concerned for her patient’s health but, with advice as her only tool, all she can do is warn Usman that he is at risk of pain and seizures if he insists on sticking to the letter of his religion’s law.
Dr William Laird faces a similarly frustrating consultation when Michael and his son Brian come in to see him. Michael is a life long heavy smoker with chronic airways disease who is suffering from a chest infection that’s left him almost too breathless to walk. Two courses of antibiotics have failed to clear up the infection so Dr Laird decides to prescribe a third. But in many ways the drugs are just a sticking plaster. Things are never really going to improve until Michael finally gives up smoking – something which he makes clear he has absolutely no intention of doing.
Nurse Sara Moloney is able to make a little more headway in her efforts to make her patient change his self-destructive behaviour. Derek suffers from Type 2 diabetes, probably brought on as a result of his dietary habits. Derek is still in the early stages of the disease and Nurse Moloney is confident he can keep it in check if he cuts down on sugar – an idea to which chocoholic Derek is somewhat resistant. But, a stern talking to you from the no nonsense nurse seems to do the trick and Derek leaves the consultation room vowing to cut back on the Dairy Milk.
Many of the patients at Balham Park are there through no fault of their own. Long suffering father Casper has come to see Dr Kayat about a painful cluster of lumps on the sole of his foot. Turns out they are contagious verrucas that a disgruntled Casper has caught off his daughter.
Dr Shital Shah’s patient Milton is also a victim of circumstance. He recently lost his job and is now unable to go out and seek work because his Job Seekers Allowance has been stopped. Now he’s being threatened with eviction and is, understandably, in the grip of depression and anxiety. Lucky for Milton, Dr Shah is willing to go the extra mile – writing a letter to the council, pleading his patient’s case.
Also in this episode, Dr Shah has a consultation with Vida who, amongst other things, needs a shoulder to cry on when she reflects on her recent separation from her husband of 30 years.
And we also get to observe the work of the Smoking Cessation team at the surgery when Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw is visited by 19 year-old Nathan, determined to give up his fifteen roll ups a day habit.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 8
This week, in a dramatic consultation, Dr Shital Shah must attempt to treat a patient who has walked into the surgery, literally carrying his head in his hands. Csaba’s brand new car has been hit by a lorry, spinning it through 360 degrees and leaving Csaba with such severe whiplash that his neck can no longer support the weight of his head. For reasons best known to himself, Csaba has not been to A&E for an X-Ray and has instead come to see Dr Shah in the hope of procuring a doctor’s letter for his solicitor. A horrified Dr Shah is worried that Csaba has a serious neck injury, possibly a fracture, and calls in the paramedics to take his patient off to hospital immediately.
Later, Dr Heather Watson treats sports fan Ash who has spent the weekend camped outside queuing for Wimbledon tickets, only to come away covered with insect bites. Dr Watson suspects the large red spots could be the work of deer ticks, which can potentially cause the debilitating Lymes Disease if left untreated with antibiotics.
And the bites aren’t the only thing causing Ash discomfort. He’s experiencing excruciating pain around his anus whenever he opens his bowels – an experience akin to being “cut with broken glass”. Ash suspects an anal fissure, a condition he has suffered in the past, and a full examination by Dr Watson confirms his self-diagnosis.
In another ‘hidden agenda’ consultation, Dr Chris Pearce treats a young patient who has come in about a possible perforated eardrum but who goes on to reveal that she has started noticing blood in her stools. It’s a worrying disclosure and Dr Pearce must carry out a full examination if he’s to make a proper diagnosis.
Dr Previna Chana's patient Nadeem recently lost his Mother, a lady who Dr Chana also treated through her depression and subsequent dementia. Nadeem, who has a number of underlying conditions that make him vulnerable, has not answered calls from social workers since the funeral and there is concern for his well-being. Nadeem has finally returned a call from Dr Chana and agreed to come to the surgery to see her. During a moving consultation, Dr Chana seeks to reassure Nadeem that even though his Mum is gone, he is not alone. She and the rest of the surgery team are right behind him and will be giving him their full support for as long as he needs it.
Dr Sian Morris’ patient Heather is on a 3-month trial of a different contraceptive pill and has come in to the surgery complaining of severe headaches with flashes of light around her peripheral vision. For Dr Morris, alarm bells immediately start ringing. Patients who experience migraine with aura after taking this type of pill are at a higher risk of stroke and Heather must stop taking it immediately.
Also in this episode, Dr Chris Pearce has a case of shingles to deal with and Nurse Sara Maloney carries out some minor surgery, removing a large mole from a gentleman’s leg using a red-hot cutting instrument.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 9
New patient Poppy’s period is late and three positive home pregnancy tests would seem to indicate the patter of tiny feet are imminent. But Poppy’s partner Nick is skeptical and wants confirmation from a doctor before he starts turning the spare room into a nursery. It’s down to Dr Heather Watson to explain that GPs use the same pregnancy tests that are sold in chemists and therefore, Poppy is indeed pregnant. It’s smiles all round as Poppy and Nick prepare for life’s greatest adventure.
Dr Chris Pearce’s patient Autumn is a mother of three with a fourth child due any day. Autumn has suffered with postnatal depression in the past and has started to recognise the danger signs, even before she has given birth this time. Dr Pearce explains that this isn’t uncommon and that more women experience depression during pregnancy than post-natal. Medication would certainly help improve Autumn’s mood but she is concerned, not entirely without justification, that anything she takes now may affect her unborn child.
Streetwise teenager Theo has been to see Dr William Laird on numerous occasions, concerned about the size of the raised lymph glands he can feel in his neck and groin - a condition he finds, “really jarring”. Theo’s concerns are understandable. His Mother suffered from Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system) and Theo is worried the he may contract the disease too. Dr Laird isn’t overly concerned but, after a thorough examination, refers Theo to a Haemotology consultant - a plan his patient describes as, “a good shout”.
Also concerned about cancer is Dr Eleanor Beecraft’s patient Duncan. Several of Duncan’s friends have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and as an older man he’s concerned about his own - especially as when he urinates his once ‘“stonking stream`’ has been reduced to a more of a trickle. According to Cancer Research UK, by the age of 80, many men will have some cancer cells in their prostate, but only 1 in 25 of them will actually die from prostate cancer.
Meanwhile, Dr Sara Kayat has a consultation with Nick, a gentleman who used to tip the scales at a whopping 32 stone. He’s got himself down to 20 stone but is keen to loose some more and is hoping Dr Kayat can prescribe him some weight loss drugs.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 10
In this episode, Dr Shital Shah locks horns with the wife of one of his patients. Donald, an older gentleman, has developed a scaly red rash on his face and arms after sitting outside in the sun. Donald’s wife Tanya, a lady who doesn’t mince her words, informs the GP that her husband must be suffering from psoriasis. Dr Shah does not agree with her diagnosis, blaming an extreme reaction to sunlight, and a battle of wills ensues.
Meanwhile, Dr Eleanor Beecraft meets a worried migraine sufferer. Abi’s 3 day headaches have forced her to take time off from her new job. Dr Beecraft attempts to get the bottom of Abi’s symptoms and alleviate her patient’s fear that she has a brain tumour.
Across the corridor, Dr Patrick Bower’s patient Dena needs a favour. Dena has a mental health condition and is being driven to distraction by her noisy upstairs neighbours. No longer able to get any sleep, Dena is desperate to move into a new council flat house before she cracks up, but her local authority are going to take some convincing. To help her case, Dena needs a letter from her doctor and, lucky for her, Dr Bower is happy to help.
Dr Chris Pearce’s patient Leslie has been suffering excruciating stomach pains for years. Hospital tests have proved inconclusive and the copious amounts of Gaviscon Leslie’s been swallowing hasn’t reduced his discomfort. The doctor suspects Leslie’s heavy alcohol intake, and the food he’s been eating, may have something to do with the problem - especially when he discovers that Leslie rarely eats cooked food. Leslie exists on a diet of breakfast cereal, interspersed with the odd chicken nugget banquet - 30 nuggets at a sitting!
Dr Sian Morris’ patient Lucy’s diet couldn’t be more different. Lucy’s a self confessed fitness freak, whose body is a temple, but that hasn’t stopped her also suffering with a painful, bloated stomach. Lucy’s worried she may have IBS or ovarian cancer but again the doctor thinks diet is the culprit. Turns out that many of the vegetables Lucy has been eating can cause excessive gas and bloating and if she lays off the broccoli and beetroot for a bit, things should return to normal.
Elsewhere Senior Healthcare Assistant Karen has been enlisted by long term smoker Brian to help him give up smoking. Brian has been smoking since 1954 so Karen has a tough job ahead of her…Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 11
The last time Dr Heather Watson had a consultation with Angela, her patient’s blood pressure was dangerously high, she was struggling to remain sober and she was consumed with self-loathing. This time around, Angela’s blood pressure has come down but little else seems to have improved. She is having issues with the social services, is still struggling to keep her drinking under control and, worse still, has been in a fight and sustained a number of nasty injuries. It’s down to Dr Watson to try and pick up the pieces.
Dr William Laird’s patient William is also still struggling with addiction and low self esteem. The last time William visited the surgery, Dr Laird recommended the long-term marijuana addict start attending meetings with counselors who would help him cut down on his smoking. William hasn’t been to any meetings, he’s smoking as much as ever and he’s no closer to getting a job than he has been for the last ten years. Dr Laird goes back to the drawing board.
Across the corridor, Dr Patrick Bower has the tough job of breaking bad news to a bipolar patient. Sammy has been off medication for over 5 years and is adamant that he’s not slipping back into mental illness, but his recent erratic spending patterns have got his carers and Dr Bower worried as they could Indicate a relapse - a relapse that could have catastrophic consequences if left untreated.
Dr Bower’s colleague Dr Eleanor Beecraft is also treating a patient who’s mental illness is putting them at serious risk of personal injury. Long term patient Patrick’s struggle with depression has taken a nose dive of late and he’s been drinking to compensate. It’s a potentially lethal combination and, when Patrick reveals he’s having suicidal thoughts, Dr Beecraft tries to steer him back from the brink.
Meanwhile Dr Sian Morris puts her years of experience into practice when John visits her with concerns about his fertility. After a thorough investigation into his sex life, she recommends he does a sperm test and gives John the surprising advice that too much sex can actually make sperm ineffectual.
The elderly make up a large percentage of patients registered at the surgery and a GP’s day can include many health checks for the over 75s. Patricia lives alone and manages to do most things for herself but during her routine check up, she tells Dr Chana about the all-too-common symptoms of the ageing process – loneliness, mild depression and frustration at having to slow down.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 12
In this episode Dr Chris Pearce turns detective when he meets a patient suffering from bizarre leg pains. Frances recently had an operation on her spine in which some of her vertebrae were fused. Now she’s started experiencing weird 'fizzy, electric shock' type pains in her legs and is concerned they may be a side effect of the surgery. Dr Pearce is not so sure (as the nerves in question are nowhere near the site of the surgery) but decides to investigate further.
Next door, Dr Eleanor Beecraft must call upon all her reserves of patience during her consultation with a furious patient. Iain suffers with blocked ears, a condition that is easily rectified by ear syringing. Dr Beecraft has referred Iain to have this procedure done at the hospital several times, but Iain keeps missing the appointments – claiming that he he’s too busy to hang about in the waiting room. He’s angry that his ears are still full of wax but won’t accept any responsibility for his plight. It’s down to Dr Beecraft to explain to Iain that he should be more patient with the NHS and that he should not, under any circumstances, take matters into his own hands and pour hot olive oil into his ears.
Across the corridor one of Dr Sian Morris’ patients is trying much harder to help himself. Mark suffers from severe depression and has been falling prey to suicidal thoughts. He is however, striving to get better by following doctors orders, taking his meds and attending cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. His road to recovery will be a long one but Dr Morris is confident he’s going to make it - and she tells him so.
When cancer strikes their friends or family, it’s very common for patients to think they have cancer too. Dr Shiltal Shah sits down with a young woman who has fears about ovarian cancer following her best friend’s recent diagnosis. Dr Shah must get creative with his drawing skills in order to alleviate his patient’s fears.
Later, Dr Morris is faced with a tough decision on whether or not to send regular elderly patient Maria to hospital. Maria is visibly struggling to breathe and her oxygen levels are worse than normal but she wants to recuperate in the comfort of her own home. Dr Morris helps Maria explore her options.
Later, Dr Heather Watson meets newly pregnant Kim who is terrified of being pregnant again after suffering two miscarriages. Dr Watson helps to allay her fears.
Also, Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw receives the best reaction he has ever had when he performs an ear syringe on a young patientScreener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 13
Patients having problems with their ears give the Balham Park GPs a chance to showcase their encyclopedic medical knowledge in this episode. When Dr William Laird meets William, a patient with chronic vertigo, he leaps into action, twisting William’s head this way and that as he attempts to shift the debris in William’s ears that is causing the problem. Meanwhile Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah is getting busy with a tuning fork, pressing it up against a patient’s skull as he tries to ascertain the severity of the man’s debilitating tinnitus.
Dr Eleanor Beecraft’s week begins with what should be a quick and straight- forward surgical procedure – the removal of a patient’s contraceptive coil. In the vast majority of cases it’s possible for the GP to easily locate the coil and remove it using two small threads. Unfortunately this is not one of those cases. Dr Beecraft is unable to remove the coil with the equipment she has to work with at the surgery and must refer the patient to hospital.
Meanwhile Dr Sian Morris is treating another patient with a genealogical problem. Anastasia is suffering pain when she has sex but her symptoms are not clear-cut. Dr Morris can’t determine whether her patient has a cyst on her ovary, or has a condition called endometriosis - but she determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Across the corridor, Dr Heather Watson is having to deal with two very nasty looking complaints. Daniel has a cyst the size of pea underneath his eyelid that needs treatment. And, an older patient, Ramnik, has a middle toe that has swollen up enormously. Gout is a possible suspect but further test are required.
Dr Claire Taylor sits down with a heart broken lady whose sister has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr Taylor books Elizabeth in for her own immediate check up as a high risk patient and does her best to comfort and reassure her patient that as her GP she will be there to support her in her new role as a carer.
Meanwhile, Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw has a job on his hands, trying to understand what a patient with a strong Glaswegian accent is saying to him.
And, in a life affirming consultation, one of Dr Beecraft’s patients, Barbara, receives some positive news about her suspected diabetes. Her symptoms are much reduced, as is her blood pressure and her weight. The cause? Barbara has been taking her new dog for long walks and the exercise is doing her the world of good. More proof that dogs are a woman’s best friend too.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 14
Elliot is a professional DJ, who was leaving work one night when he was jumped by a knife-wielding assailant. Elliot suffered a single stab wound to the forehead but, remarkably, the terrifying assault does not appear to have left him with any mental scars. Today he has come to the surgery to have the stitches in his forehead removed. For veteran Nurse Partner Sara Moloney, removing stitches is a routine procedure. But for her assistant Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw, removing stitches is a new experience, and his shaking hands are not making the job any easier.
Dr Claire Taylor’s patient Amanda is a little unsteady on her feet when she arrives in the consultation room. Hardly surprising really as Amanda has recently donated one of her kidneys to her sister - a young mother who would have died had she not received the organ transplant. Surgeons used keyhole surgery to remove Amanda’s kidney and the procedure has left her with a number of wounds on her torso. These need to be carefully monitored by Dr Taylor – risk of infection is the biggest peril facing donors like Amanda. Although, as we are to learn, the human body is remarkably resilient and Amanda’s should soon adapt to operating with just her one remaining kidney.
Patient Michael Fish and his son Brian make a return visit to the surgery this week. Michael is a lifelong smoker who suffers from chronic respiratory disease, although on this occasion it’s his heart that has brought him in to see Dr Chris Pearce. Michael has suffered a heart attack in the past and is again suffering excruciating chest pain. Dr Pearce suspects the culprit might be angina.
Meanwhile Dr Sara Kayat has something of a mystery on her hands. Oliver is a ten-year old boy who has been brought in by his mother Kate because he keeps blacking out. Dr Kayat’s examination reveals nothing out of the ordinary but clearly something isn’t right. Further tests are required.
Gore fans are in for a treat when Nurse Partner Sara Moloney gets to grips with a massive cyst that’s been growing on the back of her plucky patient Mark. When Nurse Moloney slices the top off the enormous pustule and starts squeezing, the sight of what oozes out is not for the faint hearted.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 15
In tonight’s episode, Dr Sara Kayat receives a visit from Calan, a young man with mysteriously painful testicles. Calan’s love life is being blighted by that fact that, every time he goes on a date, his testicles ache for hours afterwards. It’s a new one on Dr Kayat but she’s determined to find out what’s going on.
There’s a double dose of Bi Polar Disorder in this episode too. Dr Eleanor Beecraft’s bipolar patient Paul, has been coping with his illness well but is beginning to worry that he might be about to suffer a relapse. Dr Beecraft shares his concerns.
Meanwhile, another bipolar patient, Sammy, pays a return visit to Dr Patrick Bower. Last time, Dr Bower was concerned that Sammy’s erratic spending patterns were an indication that he was also at risk of a relapse. But, much to everyone’s relief, Sammy has just been given the all clear by his psychiatrist and is in a buoyant mood because there is no need for him to restart his medication.
Unfortunately for anxiety sufferer Maureen, things aren’t going so well. She’s back at the surgery, this time seeing Dr Sian Morris, worried that she won’t be able to cope when her relatives come to stay for 6 weeks. Dr Morris tries to put Maureen’s mind at rest: advising her to be assertive and to tell her loved ones how she really feels rather than simply putting on a brave face.
Across the corridor, the dangers of Acute Mountain Sickness are on Dr Heather Watson’s mind when her patient Phil tells her he’s planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in a few weeks time. Already concerned about the speed of the planned climb and descent, Dr Watson’s jaw hits the floor when Phil mentions that he also plans to set a new world record - by playing a game of rugby at the summit!
From one keen mountaineer to another. Ian visits Dr Chris Pearce suffering the effects of a climbing injury. It’s a surprise to them both when he discovers his painful toe is now oozing pus and he’s in need of some urgent antibiotics.
The topical issue of prescribing unnecessary antibiotics continues for Dr Pearce, when regular OAP Clemon arrives complaining of pain and begging for a course of drugs.
Elderly patients regularly visit the surgery for OAP check ups, but there’s no one quite like Ken and Joan. Ken, accompanied by long-suffering wife Joan, attends a double appointment with Dr Sian Morris, in order to cover everything on his extensive list of minor ailments. But when Ken decides to divulge a few more, Joan isn’t best pleased!Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 16
Dr Sian Morris’ week starts with a visit from Paul, a gentlemen who enjoys the finer things in life – including a bottle of claret every night. Paul’s health is generally good recently but recently his belly button has started to protrude noticeably from his stomach. An examination reveals a dramatic looking bulge of tangerine sized dimensions. Fortunately, although visually alarming, the distension is being caused by a hernia rather than anything sinister, and straight forward treatment options are available.
Across the corridor, Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah is having a consultation with Carrie - a young woman who believes she may be suffering from Body Dysmorphia – an anxiety disorder that causes patients to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. Her condition is affecting her relationship with her partner and she’s desperate to find some respite from the negative thoughts that hijack her every waking moment. Dr Shah refers her to a psychologist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as he is concerned that, if left untreated, Carrie’s Body Dysmorphia, could develop into a full-blown eating disorder
Meanwhile Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw is attempting to take blood from Vanessa and it’s turning out to be no easy task. Vanessa’s veins run deep and are proving very hard to locate with a needle. Despite numerous attempts and several needle stabs, Paa can’t find a vein – a grueling, eye-watering ordeal for patient, nurse and squeamish viewers.
Amber is a lady in her early 40’s who works as a proof-reader. Recently, when she looks at manuscripts, she’s noticed mysterious ‘holes’ in her vision and is understandably alarmed. At first Dr Patrick Bower suspects a migraine but an eye examination rings alarm bells. He’s concerned that Amber may actually be showing signs of Papilledema – a serious condition that can cause swelling in the brain – and so he wastes no time in sending her to A and E for a full check up.
Dr William Laird’s patient William makes a return visit this week. The 33 year-old has been addicted to cannabis for the last 12 years and that, combined with his depression and anxiety, has left him unable to get a job in all that time. During this consultation, William reveals the traumatic event that first drove him into this self-destructive cycle of behavior. As a teenager, William was brutally knifed in a random, ‘post code’ war initiation assault – and the mental scars remain with him to this day.
Octogenarian Clemon also makes a return visit to the surgery this week and - if the agonized noises he’s making are anything to go by – he’s still in a great deal of pain. Dr Chris Pearce is as anxious to help as always but, in the absence of and specific symptoms, the best he can offer Clemon in terms of treatment is a sympathetic ear.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 17
In tonight’s episode, Dr Chris Pearce tries to help a retired vicar who has woken up with a severely bloodshot eye. The patient is supposed to be officiating at a funeral in Plymouth the following day, but is worried about driving. Dr Pearce must decide whether or not it’s safe for the curate to travel. A congregation holds its breath.
Meanwhile, Dr Sara Kayat faces a potentially life threatening situation in her consultation room. Young mum, Bethany, has been up all night with her three year old daughter, Kitty, an asthmatic, Kitty has been sniffling and struggling to breathe overnight and Mum is concerned her condition is deteriorating. Although Kitty has been hospitalized with asthma before, Dr Kayat hopes she can continue to be treated by her mum at home. However, a series of crucial tests leaves Dr Kayat with no other option but to send Kitty to A&E. It’s a worrying time for Mum.
Dr ’Shilts’ Shah, is also seeing a patient with a serious condition that needs to be closely monitored. Jermaine has an overactive thyroid – an illness that has left him visibly under weight and without a hair on his body. Recently, Jermaine’s not been taking the tablets that help him maintain his weight and health and Dr Shah is concerned that if he doesn't resume his medication, his condition could worsen and his internal organs and his liver could be damaged. It’s a crucial consultation for a young man suffering from a life debilitating illness.
Across the corridor, veteran GP Dr Patrick Bower has a cancer scare on his hands. Several white lumps have appeared on Simon’s tongue and he is understandably concerned. Dr Bower explains that if new lumps appear in a patient’s mouth and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, that patient is automatically referred for a cancer check under the NHS’s two week rule. It’s a worrying turn of events for Simon, but Dr Bower’s swift action at least helps put his mind at ease.
Later Dr Bower has another unusual lump to deal with. Rebecca has a cyst on her eyelid – a condition that’s normally easily treated with antibiotic ointment. But Rebecca is also heavily pregnant and that rings alarm bells in the doctor’s mind. Good thing too. Further investigation reveals the ointment may endanger the unborn baby’s health: another example of good, responsible doctoring at Balham Park Surgery.
Meanwhile Dr Chris Pearce welcomes a new patient to surgery: a young woman who suffered severe spinal injuries when she fell from a roof terrace four years ago. Now confined to a wheelchair, she hopes to become a downhill ski racer and is hoping Dr Pearce can help sort out pressure sores on her legs.
Later Dr Heather Watson meets 18-year-old Jemima who is worried about a lump on her breast. Although she is very unlikely for teenagers to develop breast cancer, Dr Watson gives a full breast examination. As expected she is able to give Jemima the all clear and she leaves the surgery a very relieved young lady.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 18
Dr William Laird’s first case of the week is a curious one. His patient Antonio has just returned from a holiday in the sun and is sporting an all over tan except (and this is the curious part) on both of his shins, which have remained stubbornly white. Antonio has already been on Google and his online self-diagnosis has led him to believe that he must have skin cancer. Fortunately, Dr Laird is quickly able to put Antonio’s mind at rest. He doesn’t have cancer and the strange white stripes are likely to be Vitiligo - a condition where the skin loses pigmentation.
Meanwhile, Senior Nurse Partner Sara Moloney is providing much needed aftercare to Caroline who has recently undergone spinal surgery to remove part of a prolapsed (or ‘slipped’) disc. The operation has left Caroline with a huge scar on her back (as well as a nasty case of hemorrhoids) but fortunately Nurse Moloney is there to give her the clinical and psychological support she needs.
Every ten seconds, someone in the UK has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. Balham Park's resident asthma and allergy specialist is Dr Sarah Glynne and she’s made it her mission to address this issue. This week her patient Sam receives a crash course in how to use his inhaler correctly (most people don’t) and what action to take if he suffers a severe attack – essential viewing for all asthma sufferers.
Baby Theo is in for his 8 week check up with Dr Heather Watson. Mum is concerned about the baby's belly button, which looks inflamed and sticky. Fortunately, it’s nothing to be worried about. Dr Watson explains the baby has a granuloma (a common condition where the tissue around a new born’s belly button become inflamed) and applies Silver Nitrate to aid the heeling process.
From baby’s to octogenarians, Dr Patrick Bower is conducting a health review of Alan who’s accompanied by his long-term partner and carer William. The couple are worried about Alan’s deteriorating memory so Dr Bower conducts the 'Six Item Cognitive Impairment Test'. The results are reasonably encouraging. Alan does not appear to have dementia, but his memory is not what it was and further investigation in required.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 19
Tonight’s episode sees the GPs at Balham Park Surgery dealing with terminal cancer – it’s effects on the living and it’s aftermath on those who are left behind.
Dr Eleanor Beecraft is visited by her ever positive cancer patient Kevin, who, after receiving a terminal diagnosis, has cashed in his pension, bought a narrow-boat and set up a fundraising scheme to help other cancer sufferers. Kevin’s indomitable spirit and cheerful demeanor in the face of his own impending mortality are truly inspirational.
Later, we learn how difficult it is for those left behind when their loved ones finally succumb to the disease. Recently widowed Touria lost her husband to pancreatic cancer after a short illness and presents to Dr Chris Pearce with classic symptoms of bereavement. She’s unable to sleep, eat properly or feel motivated and is still haunted by the voice of her late husband.
Also this week the surgery’s newest recruit, Dr Clemence Mitchell, is visited by professional pianist John, who reveals that he plays for a grueling 6 to 9 hours a day. Naturally concerned for the future of his career and worried about the discomfort he now suffers in his joints and hands, John fears he might be following in his father’s footsteps – also a professional pianist who has advanced osteoarthritis. Dr Mitchell is inclined to agree with her patient’s self diagnosis – John’s advancing age and his punishing occupation means arthritis is the most likely culprit.
From new doctors to new patients. Teenager Richard is visiting the surgery for the first time in the hope that a GP can do something about the acne that sprang up on his face two months previously. Like many of his pustulant peers, Richard is determined to beat his blemishes by battling them with the right medication and it’s Dr Sarah Glynne’s job to prescribe the best stuff for the job.
Across the corridor, Dr Claire Taylor is presented with mysterious stomach symptoms in vegetarian patient Bruno. After a thorough grilling and physical examination, Dr Taylor refers him for further investigations to try and rule out anaemia / iron deficiency, or something more sinister like stomach cancer.
Meanwhile, Jill brings in her sister Kim to see Dr Previna Chana for a routine health and weight check. Kim, who has Down’s Syndrome enjoys dancing in shows with her local social club and has a penchant for eating a little too much cake. But despite this, the scales reveal no change in her weight since the year before, much to Jill’s bafflement!Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 20
This week, the busy Balham Park Surgery GPs must try to help patients who potentially pose a danger to themselves.
When her long-term patient Allan enters her consultation room, Dr Sian Morris can immediately see something’s not right. Allan, who lives on the margins of society, has a number of long standing health conditions and has always been very slim. However, on this occasion Allan is even thinner than usual – in fact he now weighs a mere seven stone. Allan claims his weight loss can be attributed to the stress of recently moving home but Dr Morris suspects a more sinister cause – crack cocaine. Confronted by Dr Morris, Allan claims he has given up smoking crack. Either way, Dr Morris leaves Allan in no doubt as to the perils of continuing with such a dangerous habit.
Dr Eleanor Beecraft’s patient Paul also poses a potential risk to himself - and others. Paul has booked himself a holiday in Malaysia but he suffers from Bipolar Disorder and before he is allowed to catch the long haul flight, he must be passed fit to travel by his GP. Dr Beecraft is also aware that the last time Paul went on holiday to his native Australia, he ended up being sectioned following a mental health episode. She is therefore understandably cautious about passing him fit to travel on a confined airplane. Desperate to impress, Paul does his best to reassure Dr Beecraft that he will look after himself – leaving his GP with a thorny dilemma.
Meanwhile, Dr Patrick Bower is treating another patient with a history of Bipolar Disorder. His patient Sammy’s Bipolar is under control and he no longer requires drugs to control it: but Sammy does have very high blood pressure and unless he remembers to take his blood pressure medication he’s at a high risk of heart attack and stroke. A stern talking to is called for.
Across the corridor, Dr Sara Kayat is presented with a less straightforward case. Her patient Milos is complaining of chest pains, heart palpitations, a pulsing head and dizzy spells. Is this a medical problem or could it be stress related? It’s down to Dr Kayat to discover the truth.
Dr William Laird also has a mysterious case on his hands. His patient, Christopher, cannot stop sneezing – and it’s driving him crazy. Chris has tried all sorts of remedies – none of them have worked and now he’s started getting regular nosebleeds too. Can Dr Laird succeed where other GPs have failed?
Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose in Dr Clemence Mitchell’s consultation room. Young mum Tammy has brought in her toddler Angel Skyé who has been under the weather for the past week with a cough, cold and possible urine infection. However when Dr Mitchell tries to take Angel Skyé’s temperature the youngster goes into total meltdown, starts screaming the place down and trying to escape the room. It’s all pretty stressful for mum and GP but it’s also very funny.
And also tonight, Dr Previna Chana encounters an intriguing case – a patient who feels cold all the time. Naweedah is a middle aged lady who has the heating on all year round and has to wear gloves just to pick up the phone…Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 21
The clinical decisions that the Balham Park GPs make every day can have far reaching consequences…..
For many months, Dr Eleanor Beecraft has been keeping a close eye on her patient Paul Mansfield who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. In the past, Paul has been sectioned for his condition and he is now planning a holiday in Malaysia – a trip that will involve a long haul flight. If Paul were to suffer a relapse in a confined aircraft he could potentially cause a hazard to himself and other passengers. It’s Dr Beecraft’s responsibility to assess whether or not Paul is safe to travel. If that answer is ‘no’ then she has the power to notify the authorities and stop Paul boarding the plane.
Meanwhile, Dr Claire Taylor is offering advice to a patient who is considering sterilisation – a method of contraception that has been largely superseded by the Progesterone Coil and contraceptive injections. The affects of sterilisation are potentially irreversible and Dr Taylor wants to make sure her patient is making and informed decision before she takes such a big step.
Also this week, dad Daniel has discovered that parenting can seriously damage your health. In the last week he has fallen off a climbing frame, tripped over some toys and fallen down the stairs after stumbling over a pile of children’s washing. As a result, his arm and shoulder are giving him a lot of pain. Dr Eleanor Beecraft is concerned he may have caused the muscles and tendons some serious damage and refers Daniel for X-rays and scans.
Meanwhile Dr Clemence Mitchell is in a consultation with Steven, another young dad. Steven, is considering not having any more children and has come to see his GP for advice on having a vasectomy.
The number of centenarians (people over the age of 100) has quadrupled in the UK in the last 30 years and one such patient is Joan, who has dementia and is cared for by her daughter Rosanne. Joan is a woman of few words but it’s clear she disgruntled by the whistling noise that her hearing aids have started to make. Dr Sian Morris investigates.
Another regular elderly patient at the surgery is Michael, who suffered a “funny turn” at a wedding the previous weekend. Given his age and medical history Dr Sarah Glynne suspects a mini-stroke and checks for unevenness in Michael’s face and slurred speech before referring him to a specialist Stroke clinic for further tests.
Across the corridor, Dr Heather Watson welcomes back long-term patient Charles Patterson. Charles has just undergone three months of intensive treatment for throat cancer. His treatment has now come to an end but he’s still suffering from the side effects – and infuriatingly dry mouth and sore eyes.
The question of when GPs should prescribe or withhold antibiotics is a hotly contested one. This week Dr William Laird meets a concerned Mum, determined to get a prescription for her toddler son who has a sore throat and fever. Dr Laird begs to differ.
Also this week, Senior Practice Nurse Sara Moloney roots around with her scalpel and digs out a shocking cyst. Not for the faint hearted.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 22
This week in the Balham Park Surgery, Dr Sian Morris must treat a number of patients who are wracked with worry and anxiety.
First, Dr Morris meets Cherie, a tearful gym-bunny who’s terrified her heart palpitations are a warning that she is about to suffer a fatal heart attack!
Next through Sian’s consultation room door are octogenarian couple Ken and Joan who are deeply concerned about their future. They are scared about moving into a residential care home and losing their independence but are equally concerned about how they will cope should their health deteriorate. Dr Morris seeks to allay their fears by talking them through the benefits of a ‘living will’.
Unfortunately, there’s one frightened patient who Dr Morris can’t reassure entirely. Jake has presented with mysterious symptoms: numbness and twitching in his limbs and pins and needles in his extremities. Dr Morris is concerned that this could indicate a serious neurological condition…
Also this week, Dr Previna Chana helps a patient who is suffering from chronic facial pain. Neil is one of Dr Chana’s regular patients and the, “electric-shock-like” pain he’s experiencing is not being relieved by standard painkillers. Thinking laterally, Dr Chana prescribes anti-epilepsy medication to reduce the pressure in the blood vessels in Neil’s jaw. Providing it doesn’t spoil his, “Hollywood good looks” Neil is happy to go along with Dr Chana’s plan.
Meanwhile, Dr William Laird’s patient Jane has presented with some alarming symptoms. Jane, who was fitted with a contraceptive coil 6 years ago, has recently suffered an unexpected bleed and severe migraines. Dr Laird makes a number of investigations before deciding to confer with Dr Marietta Swanne, the surgery’s resident expert in women’s health.
Across the corridor, Dr Clemence Mitchell’s medical knowledge is put to the test when a mother brings in her young son who is suffering from frequent urination – a possible symptom of childhood diabetes. The plot thickens when mother Jane reveals Tobias’ grandfather died young as a result of diabetes – a hereditary condition. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Tobias also has ADD – a condition for which he takes regular medication - and one of the side effects of the medication is (you guessed it) frequent urination. Over to Dr Mitchell to discover where the truth lies.
Later, Dr Previna Chana must also turn detective. Her patient Ruby is complaining of swelling in her legs and a shortness of breath. It’s a curious case but Dr Chana experiences a light bulb moment when she takes look at Ruby’s recent ECG results. They reveal ‘aortic stenosis’ (a narrowing of the a valve in Ruby’s heart) and a side effect of ‘aortic stenosis’ is - swollen ankles and a shortness of breath. Case solved. Now Dr Chana just needs to tackle the risk of Ruby suffering heart failure….Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 23
This week the busy Balham Park GPs and nurses are called upon to give straight talking, no nonsense advice to patients who don’t necessarily want to hear it.
Dr Eleanor Beecraft has a consultation with Iain who has been a smoker for most of his life and has developed the chronic lung condition COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Dr Beecraft has been trying to manage this condition and get Iain the help he needs, but ultimately it’s a frustrating exercise as Iain can only expect to see an improvement in his COPD if he stops smoking. In an effort to get him to do so, Dr Beecraft reminds Iain of his responsibilities towards his young daughter, which makes for an awkward exchange.
Later, Dr Claire Taylor meets Laura – a young woman suffering from shortness of breath. Dr Taylor diagnoses a serious chest infection that could easily become pneumonia unless Laura takes to her bed – but Laura’s best friend is having a birthday party in Birmingham tomorrow and she desperately wants to attend. Dr Taylor doesn’t like being a killjoy but tells Laura in no uncertain terms that if she ignores her advice and heads off to live it up in Birmingham, she’s going to end up in hospital very soon.
Sammy is back for his regular appointment with Dr Bower to monitor the recent spikes in his blood pressure. After regular exercise and watching what he eats, Sammy’s blood pressure is heading in the right direction, but of more concern is his recent appointment with his psychiatrist regarding his bipolar. Thankfully, the signs were encouraging and Dr and patient both agree that the chances of a relapse are slim.
Dr Pearce has a very challenging appointment with Amy, a young professional in her late 20’s. Amy has noticed an alarming red lump under her arm next to her breast and has come in to get it checked out. Due to her family history (her grandmother having had cancer and her mother having had a number of cysts removed) Amy seems convinced from the start of the appointment that she has cancer. After careful examination Dr Pearce can put her mind at rest and believes it is simply a cyst that may have got infected - something a course of antibiotics should clear up. The relief on Amy’s face is plain to see.
This week Nurse Sara Moloney has her hands full with patients needing travel jabs, health checks and various growths needing to be burned or scraped off. With over 20 years of experience in the practice, Sara has a straight talking way of dealing with her patients and getting them to take better care of themselves - patients like Richard, a 70 year-old man, who has come in to have a few skin growths removed. Upon learning that Richard is drinking more than he should, Sara advises him to cut down on the claret.
Regular patient, Clemon is back in the surgery for one of his regular check-ups. This week he’s complaining of a painful growth on is heel. Dr Pearce is genuinely concerned and asks Nurse Moloney to dress the wound. They agree to monitor Clemon’s foot and refer him to a dermatologist if it doesn’t settle down.
Also in this episode, Dr Heather Watson tries to offer health and advise to Katherine, a lady who is being driven to distraction (and to tears) by the debilitating migraines she suffers everyday.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 24
The doctors of Balham Park Surgery are used to dealing with problems of a sensitive nature and this week is no different as they are faced with an array of patients suffering from problems below the waist.
Dr Heather Watson treats Eric, an exhausted looking Frenchman who, as well as suffering from dizzy spells, is being kept awake all night with an itchy back passage. Eric’s incessant scratching whilst asleep is causing a significant amount of bleeding and he is concerned that he may be suffering from worms. Dr Watson isn’t convinced by his self-diagnosis and orders a range of tests to rule out anemia.
Meanwhile, Dr Sara Kayat is in consultation with Hayley a young woman who was recently diagnosed with, and successfully treated for, cervical cancer. Hayley was diagnosed early and is now cancer free but her self-confidence has taken a knock and she is being troubled by anxious thoughts. Fortunately an encouraging Dr Kayat is on hand to point Hayley towards self-help literature, meditation courses and an offer of further counselling should Hayley think she needs it.
Also, Dr Chris Pearce meets John, a man with a strong family history of prostate cancer. John has heard that a healthy prostate should be about the size of a walnut, but what type of walnut exactly? He’s just come back from Czechoslovakia where walnuts are twice the size of the British variety and he’s brought along some examples to show a somewhat bemused Dr Pearce.
Also tonight, Dr Heather Watson sits down with worried mother of one Stephanie who is pregnant with her second child and suffering from severe migraines. Stephanie's migraines are affecting her vision and her speech leaving her frightened that she is going to collapse with only herself and young her child in the house. Dr Watson investigates.
Across the corridor, Dr Shital Shah meets a patient with a Good Samaritan story to tell – a story that illustrates the dedication of the UK’s medical community. Joyce, a woman of a certain age, was knocked over by two clumsy teenagers while she was leaving a train station. The teenagers didn’t stop to help but an off duty doctor who rushed to her aid, patched Joyce up and even offered to drive her home. Dr Shah picks up the baton and examines Joyce for any damage that his mystery colleague may have missed.
Meanwhile Dr Laird gets out his syringe to tackle a large bursa on his patient Louis’ elbow. A bursa is a fluid filled sack and Louis’ is a beauty – about the size of a small orange. Laird expertly extracts the fluid whilst simultaneously offering Louis a lecture on bursas which, when they appear on the legs, are often referred to as 'housemaids knee'. All in a days work.
Also, Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw encourages regular patient Sheila to kick her smoking habit. Sheila has been smoking since she was young and has now developed COPD. Can Paa help her to ditch the cigarettes along with her other habit of calling him Paul?Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 25
This week, there’s a thief at large in the Balham Park Surgery. Receptionists Nana and Vicky’s pens mysteriously keep going missing despite their best efforts to hide them. The prime suspect? Their fellow receptionist Aaron.
Meanwhile, Dr Claire Taylor offers comfort to Gohar, a partially sighted lady who’s eyes were severely damaged by a chemical burn when she was a child. Gohar is beginning to experience severe pain in her one functioning eye and is frightened that it may be shutting down, leaving her blind. Dr Taylor refers Gohar to the eye hospital for immediate treatment
Also tonight Dr William Laird has a consultation with one of his regular elderly patients – Clemon - who has developed a painful lesion on the side of his foot. Clemon is convinced he’s got gangrene and is terrified he might loose his leg. Dr Laird assures him that this is most certainly not the case – although he is concerned the lesion could be a type of skin cancer. He gives Clemon an urgent referral to the dermatologist to have the growth removed and tested to see if it is indeed cancerous.
Across the corridor, Elisandra has been brought in by her mother to see Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah. Elisdandra is suffering with painful white sores in her mouth which her mum fears could be a sign of something serious. But after examining the girl Dr Shah is able to put mum’s mind at rest. The sores are simply a sign that Elisandra is successfully fighting an infection that will soon clear up by itself.
Elsewhere in the surgery, Dr Claire Taylor is helping another young patient. Little Huzaifah has spent a weekend away in Paris with his grandparents and has returned home covered in what look like insect bites. Dr Taylor suspects the highly infectious scabies mite is the culprit and advises Mum to wash all the sheets, towels and clothes at home to prevent them spreading to the rest of the family.
Meanwhile, Nurse Sara Moloney is running her COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) clinic and smoker Ian is in for a lung capacity test. Can he channel his inner wolf and huff and puff sufficiently to blow the Three Little Pig’s house down, on Nurse Moloney’s computerised breath testing machine.
Later, Dr Sian Morris, who specialises in mental health, is seeing student Sophie, who is struggling with anxiety brought on by the pressure of her studies. Sophie is keen to avoid having to take medication for her condition and so Dr Morris prescribes a course of ‘mindfulness’ meditation instead.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 26
In tonight’s episode, the Balham Park Surgery GPs meet patients at different ends of the alcohol misuse spectrum.
Dr Patrick Bower’s patient Luke is a young man whose occasional binge drinking sessions are potentially putting his health at risk. Luke has been feeling out of sorts after sinking ten pints of an evening and Dr Bower suspects that this is down to his blood sugar levels crashing. He advises Luke to curb his drinking now before he does himself any long term damage.
Meanwhile Dr Sara Kayat is trying to help her patient Harry – a recovering alcoholic who has just fallen off the wagon in a big way and has come to the surgery claiming to be hearing voices in his head. Harry is concerned he may be a danger to himself and is desperate for help. It’s down to Dr Kayat to keep Harry calm and to try and get him seen by specialists at the local IDAS (Integrated Drugs and Alcohol Service) centre.
Also tonight, Dr Sian Morris is visited by one of her regular patients, Allan – a gentlemen with a range of medical problems that are not being helped by the fact that he has occasionally used crack cocaine. Worried that Allan has lost a significant amount of weight since she last saw him, Dr Morris gives him a stern talking to about the serious risks Allan’s lifestyle choices pose to his health and welfare.
Meanwhile, Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah’s medical knowledge is put to the test by a patient (Rabindra) who is desperate to discover what could be causing him to expel such foul-smelling gas. Dr Shah suspects Rabindra’s penchant for fry-ups could be to blame.
Later, Dr Shah meets David, a sexually active OAP who is worried about the fact that he no longer produces any semen when he ejaculates. “Where is it going if it isn’t coming out?” he demands to know. Dr Shah diagnoses a lack of pressure in David’s nether regions.
One of Dr Chris Pearce’s regular patients makes a return to the surgery this week. Leslie is ostensibly in because of his, “knackered back”, but things take a dark and unexpected turn when Leslie reveals his neighbor hanged himself in their shared garden just a few days earlier. Dr Pearce is concerned about the effect this shocking incident may have had on Leslie’s emotional wellbeing.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 27
This week, the Balham Park Surgery’s emergency appointments are taken up by patients in need of urgent hospital care.
Worried mother Kirsty has brought her twin baby daughters in to see Dr William Laird – one of who’s breathing is laboured. The girls were both born prematurely and little Charlotte suffered complications – a narrowing of her windpipe and a partially collapsed lung. After spending three weeks in hospital, Charlotte was discharged but her breathing continues to be a concern. Now Charlotte appears to be struggling for breath again and, after carrying out an emergency examination, Dr Laird has no option but to summon an ambulance.
Meanwhile Dr Heather Watson is treating a young woman with abdominal pain that is so severe, she’s finding it difficult to walk or even sit still without writhing in agony. Dr Watson suspects she may be suffering form a reoccurrence of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, a serious infection of the female reproductive system. Unable to offer much in the way of treatment, Dr Watson sends her patient to hospital where she can receive antibiotics intravenously.
In addition to ambulance sirens, the corridors of the Balham Park practice are ringing with the deafening screams of Sicily, a young girl who has been brought in by her parents to receive some travel vaccinations. Following a tooth extraction at her dentist, Sicily has developed a fear of needles and when Nurse Moloney approaches her with her syringe, Sicily’s screams threaten to bring the roof down.
Meanwhile, Balham Park regular Kayla is seeing Dr Beecraft. The series has followed her partner Kevin’s fight against terminal cancer and Dr Beecraft is now supporting Kayla as she comes to terms with his Kevin’s death just two weeks ago.
Also, patient Harry, who struggles with alcoholism, has returned to see Dr Sara Kayat. Just last week, Harry was in Dr Kayat’s consultation room at the wrong end of a drinking binge – severely distressed and claiming to be hearing voices in his head. Since then Harry has been to an alcohol support service and sobered up. His mood is back to normal, he’s vowed never to touch another drop and he’s extremely grateful to Dr Kayat for aiding his recovery.
Ever wondered what a ringworm looks like? As sports fanatic Liam is about to discover from Dr Eleanor Beecraft – ringworm isn’t a worm at all, but a fungal skin infection.
And promising teen rugby player Lewis has been brought in by his mum, complaining of chest pain and breathlessness. Is it just a bruised rib or something more serious? And will Lewis be fit enough to play in his biggest match of the season on Saturday?Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 28
This week, the Balham Park Surgery’s appointment book is crammed with regular patients returning to their trusted GPs for a reliable dose of medical care.
Pain-ridden Lisa is a long-term patient, but she claims her latest problem is a result of all the painkillers Dr Shah’s had to prescribe for her excruciating back pain. Still suffering, and having undergone several invasive spinal operations, she now compares the effects of numerous painkillers to feeling drunk on 12 pints of lager. With her husband in prison, Lisa’s also struggling to cope raising her two children alone, forcing her anxiety into dangerous territory.
Meanwhile Dr William Laird must feel like a stuck record as he tries to persuade his regular patient William that his habitual cannabis use is perhaps the most significant contributing factor behind his depression and long-term unemployment. William is unwilling to take anti depressants as he fears they only exacerbate his problems and seems equally reluctant to undergo counseling, leaving his GP with little room for manoeuvre.
Occasionally the Balham Park GPs are called upon to play mediator in family disagreements. Sixteen year old Ramone and his mum Sharon visit Dr Kayat to discuss Ramone’s liver function, which has some raised worrying markers. It soon transpires that it may be the sign of some heavy teenage partying, which Dr Kayat attempts to get to the bottom of. Despite Ramone’s protests that he drinks ‘zero units’ per week, will he succeed in pulling the wool over the doctor and mum’s eyes?
Pensioner Clemon Samuels is one of the surgery’s most frequent visitors, alternating between Dr Laird and Dr Pearce every Wednesday for help with his multiple ailments. This week it’s his penis, which has been hurting him since he woke up, and a constricted oesophagus that is making it hard for him to swallow. Unfortunately, Dr Laird is awaiting blood test results for Clemon and until they’re back, it’s a familiar story of ‘watch and wait’.
Meanwhile, Dr Pearce consults with regulars Brian and Michael Fish. Michael has a crumbling coccyx and also suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a result of a lifetime of heavy smoking. Duty-bound to try and alter a patient’s bad habits, Dr Pearce gently informs him that they have a smoking support service at the surgery to help him quit. But Michael’s son Brian isn’t on board with ‘operation quit’, making it known that the good doctor is wasting his time given his Dad has been smoking since he was 11!Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 29
Open wide and say ‘ahhhh’. This week the Balham Park Surgery GPs are kept busy by patients with throat complaints. Most worrying amongst these is 8 year-old Alderic, a boy whose voice has become strangely husky over the last 6 months. As vocal changes are unusual in a child of this age Dr Bower is concerned it could be a sign of something sinister and refers Alderic to a cancer-screening specialist under the NHS’s two-week rule.
Another small child requiring further tests (albeit for a far less worrying complaint) is young Taylor who has a crust patch on her top lip. Suspecting a fungal infection, Dr Shital Shah takes a sample of the lesion and sends it off to the lab for further testing.
Also in the surgery is Monica who, at 82 years young, is concerned she’s becoming forgetful. She reluctantly agrees to Dr Marietta Swanne’s request that she undergo a basic memory test - which she promptly aces. Dr Swanne suspects the answer to Monica’s forgetfulness lies in a vitamin B deficiency and prescribes a course of injections to rectify the imbalance.
Later Dr Shah treats 28 year-old Peter. He has a very low heart rate and is justifiably concerned about it, as every male family member on his mother’s side has died by the age of 46 from a heart condition. Dr Shah examines the results of Peter’s ECG (Electrocardiogram) and is able to reassure him that whilst his heart rate is low, the pattern of his heart beats look healthy. It’s likely that as Peter does three hours of exercise a day, his low heart rate is simply a result of him being so fit.
Meanwhile, Dr Chris Pearce is also providing reassurance to a patient. Fiona’s baby son Joshua has not been gaining weight at the expected rate but, after weeks of regular weigh-ins with Dr Pearce, he’s finally back on track. A relieved mum and Joshua’s older sister Evie, celebrate the good news by a skipping and clicking of their heels as they leave the surgery.
Things aren’t as rosy for Dr Previna Chana’s patient James. He’s just been discharged from a 6-day hospital stay, during which he was treated for kidney stones. The stones were shattered by the treatment which should enable James to pass them, but the fragments have yet to emerge and James is in agony.
Along the corridor, Nurse Sara Moloney is preparing a syringe for regular patient and former Elvis impersonator, the irrepressible Brian Gray. Each month he has an injection to treat the symptoms of Prostate Cancer. Despite the length of the needle, Brian doesn’t turn a hair of his immaculately coiffed teddy-boy quiff.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 30
This week, patient Rabrindra Aich is back in to see Dr Shital Shah and it looks like they’ve finally got to the bottom of Rabrindra’s appalling flatulence – a condition that’s been driving his long suffering wife to distraction. The culprit? Flaxseed. Who knew? Anyway, it would appear that this so called ‘super food’ isn’t so super when it comes to Rabindra’s guts and cutting it out of his diet has certainly improved marital relations in the Aich household.
Elsewhere in the surgery, two of Balham Park Surgery’s OAP patients reveal their courage, stoicism and determination to remain active in the face of a cancer diagnosis.
Frederick, who is in his 80s, and has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer but having benefitted from the guidance of his GP Dr Clare Macmichael and the unstinting support of his wife Joan, he appears completely unfazed and claims the only thing that’s keeping him awake at night is a constant need to wee.
Meanwhile Dr Heather Watson is in consultation with Joyce, another octogenarian patient. Joyce has been living with breast cancer for some time and it’s now spread to other parts of her body. Nevertheless Joyce remains remarkably, inspirationally upbeat about life and counts her blessings that she’s still fit enough to do her weekly shop.
Also tonight, Dr Macmichael examines a young male smoker, Ireneusz, who has recently lost a significant amount of weight without trying. Unexplained weight loss (particularly in smokers) is a cancer ‘red flag’ and so the GP refers Ireneusez for an X-ray to see if she can get to the bottom of things.
Meanwhile, Dr Sian Morris is assessing toddler Ilyian who has been brought in by his worried Mum with breathing difficulties. Dr Morris is concerned about the youngster’s low oxygen saturation and heart rate and gives the toddler a steroid inhaler to see if it improves his condition. An hour later, Ilyian’s condition has worsened and so Dr Morris makes the decision to send him to the paediatric team at the local hospital.
Down the corridor, Dr Patrick Bower is helping explain medical jargon to his patient Emily who has been sent her brain scan results. Emily’s been told that she had signs of ‘ischemic small vessel disease’, which Dr Bower explains are changes to small blood vessels in the brain. In Emily’s case these changes are small and no action is required, however for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol this could be a risk factor for stroke or heart attack.
Dr Sian Morris’s last patient is shop security guard Tony, who has sprained his ankle apprehending a shoplifter. Dr Morris explains that new research has shown that anti-inflammatory medication should be avoided for the first 48 hours after an injury as the initial swelling is part of the healing process. Tony is sent away with advice to keep his foot up.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 31
Tonight, the Balham Park practice is graced by the presence of “pop royalty” in the form of UK rap artiste Lady Leshurr. A frequent traveller with her work, Lady Leshurr (aka Melesha), needs travel vaccinations ahead of a video shoot in South Africa – a couple of small, straightforward injections to be administered by expert practitioner Nurse Kate Taylor. Except this time there’s a problem. Following a bad experience with a BCG injection when she was a teenager, Lady Leshurr has an extreme phobia of needles!
Lying on the stretcher, in abject terror, Lady Leshurr seeks to calm her nerves by capturing the entire procedure on her mobile phone for the benefit of her legion of Facebook followers. And, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Nurse Taylor eventually manages to get the job done and administer the jabs. Lady Leshurr – 1, needle phobia – 0
Also this week, several of the appointments at the Balham Park Surgery are taken up by patients in need of urgent hospital attention. Elderly patient Duncan doesn’t like being out and is keen to get home, but he reluctantly visits Dr Marietta Swanne complaining of nausea, diarrhoea and black lumps in his phlegm. Worried these symptoms, combined with Duncan’s general appearance, could be a sign of something sinister, Dr Swanne believes urgent tests at hospital are Duncan’s only real option. Cue the paramedics.
Meanwhile Dr Laird sees a patient from the other end of the age spectrum. Seemingly fit 26 year-old Alex is worried his mysterious and severe abdominal pain could be sign of infection. Will the doctor agree? Alex has also had the shivers and describes how the pain has travelled around his abdomen over the last couple of days. Following a thorough but painful examination, Dr Laird decides further tests at A&E must be carried out in order to exclude infections or a potential problem with Alex’s gallbladder.
Pensioners who have suffered an injury whilst trampolining don’t often visit the surgery - and certainly not gold-medal winning ones! But there’s a first time for everything and this week OAP Mark visits Dr Sarah Glynne describing how one too many somersaults during an over 60’s trampoline competition have resulted in a strained knee and pain that’s keeping him awake at night. Impressed by such physical prowess of her senior patient, Dr Glynne advises anti-inflammatories and a strict dose of rest and recuperation on terra firma for the time being.
Meanwhile Dr Clemence Mitchell’s medical expertise in mental health is put to the test when new patient Lisa-Jane presents with physical signs of work-related stress and a history of panic attacks and depression. By revealing her own personal experience of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to manage her anxiety and work stress, Dr Mitchell offers Lisa-Jane a more balanced view of treatments, such as psycho-therapies verses the use of medication for a sustained period of time.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 32
This week – problem feet step to center stage in the Balham Park Surgery.
First, Dr Sara Kayat meets Daya, a young man whose feet have been giving him gyp for the past four years. He’s suffering from an unsightly fungal infection on his toenails and Dr Kayat wants to gather some clippings from the offending tootsies and send them off to a lab for analysis.
Next into Dr Kayat’s consultation is Anna, a young woman who is being driven to distraction by her infernally itchy feet. Closer examination by the doctor reveals Anna is suffering from not one but two foot complaints – athletes foot between her toes and pustular psoriasis (tiny blisters) on the soles of her feet. A double barreled course of treatment is prescribed – cream for the athletes foot and antibiotics for the blisters.
Young patient, Jack completes a hat trick of foot related problems when he comes in to see Dr William Laird about a sore ankle. Turns out Jack is a keen sportsman who’s been overdoing it on the squash and volleyball at school. Thankfully it’s nothing more serious than a sprain and Dr Laird advises him to keep walking on it rather than resting it.
Also tonight, Dr Heather Watson meets Tony, who is concerned about a ‘shadow’ that a recent scan revealed on his prostate. Tony’s father died of prostate cancer, which places Tony at an elevated level of risk. He is now at a loss as to what to do next and has come to see his GP for advice. Dr Watson recommends that he stick to his specialist’s plan of having further tests before he takes the step of opting for an intrusive operation.
Meanwhile, Dr Sara Kayat is giving advise to her patient Emma regarding the morning after pill. Dr Kayat explains that the “unusual periods” she’s been experiencing since taking the pill are a common side effect of the drug and that her irregular menstruations may continue for up to five months.
Later, Dr Clemence Mitchell offers advice to a father who’s baby daughter, Sarah, has stopped using her right arm for support whilst crawling. The baby is obviously in some discomfort and the father is concerned it could be a neurological disorder. Dr Mitchell decides the best course of action is to send Sarah for an X-ray and for her to seek advice from a colleague in the surgery who specializes in pediatrics.
One of Dr Chris Pearce’s regular patients makes a return to the surgery this week. Leslie is back in with a bad knee that he injured in a fall and is hobbling badly. He reassures Dr Pearce that although he’d been drinking when he fell he wasn’t “smashed”.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 33
This week the Balham park surgery is inundated with patients suffering from skin disorders.
First up, gym bunny Christine has noticed an unusual red patch on her leg that seems to be spreading up her thighs. After an examination Dr Chris Peace decides that it’s a fungal infection and prescribes a course of antibiotics.
Meanwhile, OAP William is in to see Dr Marietta Swanne with a livid red rash covering both of his lower legs. Dr Swanne decides that William’s condition could be caused by an infection called cellulitis. Dr Swanne prescribes a course of antibiotics and tells William to apply a thick emollient cream on his legs.
Across the corridor, Dr Joanna Brigg’s patient Simon has presented with a rash covering his entire body. After a thorough examination Dr Brigg decides that Simon might be suffering from Pityriasis Rosea - a non-contagious rash that can last up to 6 weeks. The GP prescribes a moisturising cream to ease the itching as well as a steroid cream that should help clear things up.
Also tonight, Dr Previna Chana meets Michael, a South African gentleman whose family history and high level of LDL cholesterol mean he has a high (one in five) chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke within the next ten years. The standard treatment would be to prescribe Michael statins, but he is worried about the recent bad press relating to their potentially negative side effects. All Dr Chana can do is fully appraise her patient as to the pros and cons of the medication as ultimately it’s his decision whether or not he should start taking the drugs.
Meanwhile, Balham Park regular Allan is back to see his GP Dr Sian Morris for a health check. Allan, who has a history of drug abuse, is painfully thin and struggling to put on any weight. At least Dr Morris can put his mind at rest about the “lumps” on his arms. They are actually nothing more sinister than Allan’s bones, which protrude because he is so skinny.
Later there’s a small victory for healthcare assistant Paa Siaw who has his final session of smoking cessation with long-term nicotine addict Mario. Much to Paa and Mario’s wife Brenda’s delight – the life long smoker has finally kicked the habit.
Also tonight, Dr Clemence Mitchell treats Ben, a young man who is concerned because he has found blood in his semen. Despite testing negative for any sexually transmitted diseases Dr Mitchell still wants to examine Ben and have his urine tested for anything sinister.
And Dr Claire Taylor provides reassurance to Melissa whose baby son Benjamin has been diagnosed with a heart condition called Aortic Stenosis. The narrowing on Benjamin’s upper valve is causing a heart murmur and much distress to his worried mother. Thankfully tests have shown that Ben’s condition is no cause for immediate concern or treatment and that all he requires is a re-assessment in 6 months time.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 34
This week the doctors of Balham Park Surgery face an influx of patients with problems in their abdomens. From neuropathy sufferer Alex whose constipation and subsequent weight loss give Dr Clare Macmichael cause for concern, to regular patient Leslie who is desperate to do something about his ongoing stomach pains and so turns to Dr Chris Pearce for much needed diet advice. Dr William Laird also has a worrying consultation with a patient who has recently undergone a battle with stomach cancer yet continues to damage his body by drinking. From diet advice to rectal examinations, the doctors are put to the test.
Dr Joanna Brigg has a visit from a young woman who is suffering with a skin tag in a rather delicate area because of a piercing she had when she was younger. The skin tag is having an adverse affect on her personal life so Dr Brigg talks through her options.
Meanwhile, Dr Chris Pearce sits down with chronic pain sufferer Barry whose back pain has reached such levels that it has forced him off work. Dr Pearce offers a friendly ear.
Down the corridor, Dr Shiltal Shah meets a man whose itchy groin symptoms have him worried he has diabetes. Dr Shah rolls up his sleeves.
Also, Dr Joanna Brigg meets mother of one Kesley who suffers with MS and has recently suffered a frightening relapse, which caused her to lose her vision. Kesley's relapse has left her feeling low but Dr Brigg is on hand to help.
Elsewhere, Dr Previna Chana see's the evidence that keeping active can keep you young when she meets a youthful 79 year old with a penchant for underwater fishing.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 35
This week, the doctors of Balham Park Surgery provide support for patients living in difficult domestic circumstances.
First Dr Marietta Swanne meets Rosanne Wickes - a full time carer for her 100-year old mother Joan who has advanced dementia. Dr Swanne commends Rosanne on the “amazing” job she is doing (Joan could not be cared for any better) but it becomes apparent that providing 24-7 care for her mum (with only 2 weeks off a year) is putting Rosanne under immense physical and mental strain.
Meanwhile Dr William Laird is talking to Ebere, a young single mum and a victim of violence who is struggling with depression. Ebere is desperate for her sister to come and live with her and provide support, but her sister lives in Nigeria and a problem with her visa application means this may not be happening for some time yet.
Also tonight, Dr Sara Kayat meets Will, a young man who’s girlfriend has sent him to the GP because she is worried about some lumps she has noticed on his back and neck. After examining Will, Dr Kayat is satisfied the lumps on his back are harmless fatty deposits called ‘lipomas’, but the one on his neck could be a swollen lymph gland and needs further investigation.
Meanwhile, Nurse Sara Moloney gives detailed contraception advice to an Australian woman called Alana. They discuss the many options available to Alana in the UK, including the vaginal ring. According to Nurse Moloney the ring is unpopular with English girls who, “don’t like putting things in their vaginas” to which Alana responds, “if they didn’t like doing that then they wouldn’t need contraception in the first place”.
Down the corridor, Dr William Laird delivers good news to keen cyclist Robert who has been suffering from testicular pain. A recent ultrasound scan has ruled out testicular cancer. Dr Laird suspects that hours spent in the saddle could be the cause of Robert’s discomfort and suggests he invest in some well fitting Lycra to keep things better in place.
Regular patient Paul returns to see Dr Patrick Bower. The last time we saw him he was trying to come to terms with the death of his mother, extremely depressed and struggling with suicidal thoughts. Happily, the combination of anti depressants and vitamin supplements, which Dr Bower prescribed have worked wonders and Paul’s mood has improved dramatically.
The surgery’s ECG specialist, Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw, confides in reception staff that he’s perturbed by male patients unnecessarily removing their trousers when they see him for an electrocardiogram. Will his last patient of the day, lad-about-Balham Joseph follow suit?Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 36
This week the doctors of Balham Park Surgery treat patients with a range of sports related injuries.
Henry is a professional golfer, but a persistent problem with his lower back (possibly caused by the fact that he’s been bending down and picking up his baby a lot) has left him unable to play (and earn a living). Visits to an acupuncturist and an osteopath aren’t fixing the problem and he needs Dr Kylan Stray to refer him to a private specialist.
Other injured sports players tonight include a young female runner with shin splints; a man who injured his hand playing rugby and a lady who hurt her leg in the gym.
Meanwhile Dr Heather Watson meets Edward, a young man who suffered a ‘sports related’ injury of a far more terrifying sort – he was attacked and injured by a mugger wielding a baseball bat!
Also tonight Dr Claire Taylor demonstrates the importance of digging deeper during a consultation. Daniel has come in complaining of headaches but, after further questioning, he reveals that he recently lost his sister to ‘sudden death syndrome’. The headaches are probably therefore a somatisation – a physical manifestation of Daniel’s grief.
Down the corridor, Dr Patrick Bower is giving new mum Alex her 6-week postnatal check up. Concerned Alex may be suffering from anaemia (an iron deficiency), Dr Bower demonstrates a simple way to check – pull down the lower eyelid and look at the inner eyelid. Red eyelids with visible blood vessels are a healthy sign, but pale eyelids could be a sign of anaemia.
Meanwhile, Dr Clare Macmichael is reviewing Sian’s thyroxin medication. She recently had her overactive thyroid removed and there is concern the dosage of thyroxin - the medication she has been prescribed to compensate for her missing thyroid, may be too high.
In reception, the admin team are on a health kick, but Anesha questions Antonia’s diet plan, when she admits she concluded her last gym session with a kebab.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 37
Victims of accidents feature prominently in this week’s episode of GPs: Behind Closed Doors
First, Dr Previna Chana meets Anwen Jones, a young girl who was involved in a terrifying accident 6 months ago. Anwen’s mum Ella was baking a cake, using an electric whisk to stir the ingredients, when Anwen suddenly leaned over bowl to get a closer look. Before Ella could react, Anwen’s long hair got caught up in the whisk, and a large amount of it was ripped out at the root. Anwen’s hair has yet to grow back, leaving her with a large bald patch on the top of her head, and Ella is keen to know if her hair will ever return or if the follicles have been permanently destroyed.
It’s a highly unusual case, one that Dr Chana has not come across before, and she decides the best course of action is to refer Anwen to a specialist in pediatric medicine.
Meanwhile, Dr Claire Taylor is visited by Santino, an elderly gentleman who was the victim or a hit-and-run road accident which has left him with peripheral neuropathy – damage to his nervous system that has left Santino requiring the use of a wheelchair.
To make matters worse, after examining Santino, Dr Taylor discovers a lump on his neck that gives her major cause for concern. She promptly refers Santino to a specialist under the NHS’ two week cancer screening rule.
Vivian is another patient who’s suffered an accident. She fell off her moped yesterday, banging her head and her arm and is now in to see Dr Joanna Brigg. She’s been vomiting and is complaining of a sore neck and Dr Brigg is concerned Vivian is suffering from concussion and whiplash.
Last, but not least, on the accident role call is 84 year-old Maria, a regular patient of Dr Chris Pearce. Maria has taken a tumble at home and her GP is concerned that she may have cracked a rib because breathing has become incredibly painful.
Also tonight, Dr Sara Kayat treats Touria, one of her regular patients who has worryingly been fainting and waking up on her bedroom floor. Blood tests reveal Touria is suffering from a serious vitamin D deficiency, which is possibly a result of the fact that Touria wears traditional Muslim dress that restricts the amount of sunlight her body absorbs. Dr Kayat also suspects that Touria has not been eating or drinking properly. However, improving Touria’s diet and giving her a vitamin D supplement should rectify the problem.
Meanwhile, across the corridor Dr Shah also has an unusual case on his hands. His patient, Andrew is suffering from hearing loss in one ear and after numerous tests, a concrete cause has not been found. However, Andrew does have a click in his jaw which leads Dr Shah to a diagnosis of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, a very rare condition where a faulty jaw joint can lead to a malfunction in the ear.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 38
This week, patients with heart related concerns feature prominently at the Balham Park Surgery.
First through the doors is Graham Palmer to see Dr Chris Pearce. Graham's father has a rare genetic heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HOCUM for short) and recently had a heart attack. Although Graham hasn't suffered any heart problems himself, he wants to get checked over just in case. It is estimated that one in five hundred people in the UK have this condition and a proportion are unaware that they have it. Dr Pearce listens to his heart, doesn't find anything out of the ordinary and refers Graham to have an echocardiogram (ECG) to make sure the structure of his heart is normal.
Later, Gerry has an appointment to see Nurse Sara Moloney for a post-heart- operation-checkup. Gerry suffered a heart attack last month whilst shopping in Ikea. He was rushed to hospital where he had three ‘stents’ put in to keep his arteries open. Nurse Moloney reminds Gerry that before he had the stents put in he was a walking time bomb who required some serious lifestyle changes! Since then he has become a tee- total vegan who walks an hour a day.
Across the hall, patient Emily explains to Dr Mitchell that she experiences heart palpitations and a tight chest when she gets one of her panic attacks. These can be triggered by simple events such as sitting down too quickly or simply flipping her hair back! Dr Mitchell recommends talking therapies, breathing techniques and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to help relieve her anxiety.
Meanwhile, Ahmed is suffering from insomnia at night and is in to see Dr Laird about it. Dr Laird discovers that Ahmed, who works nights, has been using his mobile phone before he goes to bed and recommends he stops this as the electrical activity in the brain can take up to an hour to return to normal. He also gives Ahmed some tips on how to get a better nights sleep.
Also tonight, George has a consultation with Dr William Laird regarding his sore testicle (that’s George’s testicle, not Dr Laird’s). The pain is such that he’s starting to walk with a limp. Dr Laird examines George but doesn't find anything unusual. Nevertheless, just to be sure Dr Laird rings the urology department at St Georges Hospital for a second opinion. They recommend that George come in for an ultrasound to rule out any risk of testicle torsion (twisted testical).
Down the corridor, Maria is in to see Dr Pearce about her breathing difficulties. Maria is an octogenarian who requires constant oxygen due to having Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). She tells Dr Pearce that she recently became breathless in the local post office and thought she was going to die! Dr Pearce checks the oxygen saturation in her blood and recommends that if Maria has another episode of breathlessness, she should go straight to A&E.
Later, Donald comes in to see Dr Heather Watson. Donald is an elderly gentleman who has recently moved after living in the same house for fifty years. During the move he lost his medication - most importantly his Warfarin. Dr Watson understands that moving house can be stressful time for anyone but if he needs more medication he should come in to see them straight away. During the consultation Donald takes an important phone call, regarding his boiler!Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 39
In tonight’s episode, the Balham Park GPs take third year medical students Tanguy and Kathryn under their wing, to help them gain valuable hands-on experience working in a busy GP’s surgery.
First, Dr Joanna Brigg and medical student Kathryn are investigating a case of so called “white-coat syndrome” – a condition that causes a patient’s blood pressure to rise when they are in a medical environment. When Dr Brigg takes her patient Elizabeth’s blood pressure it is dangerously high, but it’s not clear whether this is because Elizabeth is nervous or because there is a more serious underlying condition. It’s a real puzzler for Dr Brigg and her student…
Meanwhile, under Dr. Eleanor Beecraft’s experienced gaze, a tense Tanguy successfully leads his very first patient consultation. His patient, Anthony, has come to the surgery complaining of a dodgy knee and Tanguy must use the medical knowledge he has gained so far to try and assess the cause of Anthony’s pain.
Later, veteran practice nurse Sara Moloney is imparting some of her vast medical knowledge to student Kathryn. Keen traveller Luke is in for a number of vaccinations, which gives Nurse Moloney an opportunity to teach Kathryn the finer points of administering injections.
Also tonight, Dr. Heather Watson is kept on her toes by a hyperactive toddler with a nasty looking rash. As exhausted mother of two Alma attempts to keep control of her daughter Greta, Dr. Watson prescribes some cream before mum and GP agree to cut their losses and finish the consultation early before Greta completely destroys the consultation room.
Elsewhere in the surgery Dr. Clemence Mitchell receives a visit from Allan – a recovering drug user with a severe wheezy chest. While Allan no longer smokes crack cocaine, his persistent cigarette smoking isn’t helping his lungs and Dr. Mitchell tries to encourage him to kick his habit once and for all.
Later, Dr. Chris Pearce meets Anna, a young girl recovering from anorexia who is also struggling with depression and anxiety. After eight years without a period, Anna suspects that her unpredictable menstrual cycle could be a contributing factor to her low mood.
Meanwhile, Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw is visited by Marguerite, an OAP unable to have blood taken by anyone else. Dab hand Paa expertly siphons off a vile of the red stuff first time round without leaving a mark and Marguerite decides to celebrate by going for a nice cup of coffee.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 40
Pain – both physical and emotional – brings another wave of patients through the doors of Balham Park Surgery this week in search of relief from its busy team of GPs.
An exquisitely painful toe has brought Mareck to the surgery. He’s been looking on Google and has a theory about what’s causing it but he wants confirmation from his GP, Dr William Laird. After examining his patient, Dr Laird is inclined to agree with Mareck’s self-diagnosis: gout, caused by a build up of uric acid in the body and likely exacerbated by the long haul flights Mareck has been taking recently.
We first met Amanda earlier in the series, shortly after she had donated her kidney to her sister in a life saving operation. Physically Amanda is in good shape but emotionally she’s struggling. Her mood is very low and it’s starting to affect her work and home life. Fortunately help is at hand in the form of Dr Sarah Glynne. She explains to Amanda that it’s entirely normal for organ donors to experience low mood following the operation and signs Amanda off work so she can have time to properly rest and recuperate.
Isabella, a pre-teen patient, has been complaining to her mother about headaches that she has been suffering at school. A thorough examination, and a bit of detective work by Dr Joanna Brigg uncovers the likely cause.
Isabella needs glasses for reading and once she starts wearing them regularly, the headaches should clear up.
And Dr Sian Morris meets Emrys, a gentleman who has fallen over playing football and injured his shoulder. The pain has left him unable to lift his arm and Dr Morris wants to make sure he hasn’t dislocated or broken it.
Also tonight, Dr Shilts Shah treats Adam, a soon to be bridegroom who has been feeling terrible ever since his stag night two weeks ago. After examining Adam, Dr Shah deduces that this is not simply a truly catastrophic hangover. Rather, Adam is suffering labrinthitis – an ear problem that effects balance that can be treated with antibiotics. But will Adam recover in time for his big day?
And Dr Chris Pearce treats Christopher, an older gentleman who is suffering with terrible constipation.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 41
In tonight’s episode, the Balham Park Surgery team are visited by patients with some grisly looking conditions.
A blackened big toenail belonging to keen rugby player George is hanging on by a thread and its owner is worried it will hamper his performance during the weekend’s big match. It’s not a pretty sight and Dr William Laird can’t do anything to save it – this toenail is a goner. All the GP can do is advise George to wrap it up with tape (to protect to the nail bed whilst the replacement grows through) and try and avoid any hard knocks on the rugby pitch – no easy task.
Meanwhile, the Balham Park Surgery’s master of minor ops - Nurse Sara Moloney – gives a squeamish medical student a crash course in the removal of skin tags. Burning lumps of excess flesh off patient’s bodies using a red-hot cautery is not for the faint-hearted as this young student is about to discover.
Later, permanently-perky-pensioner Brian comes in to see Dr Heather Watson about his eyelids. His lashes are growing inwards and have to be regularly cut back. To make matters worse, one of Brian’s eyelids has frozen, leaving him unable to blink, even while he’s asleep, leaving his eye vulnerable to foreign bodies and infection.
Also tonight, Dr Heather Watson’s services are required when patient Cat requests a ‘clean bill of health letter’ as part of a visa application to be able to work in China. It’s a routine request but in order to be signed off as fit Cat must have a healthy blood pressure and when Dr Watson takes her readings they turn out to be high. It’s possible this could be a case of ‘white coat syndrome’ (when the stress of being in a medical environment can cause a patient’s blood pressure to increase) but until Cat’s readings come down, her GP can’t sign her off and her work visa application is in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, motorcycle instructor Nick has come to see Dr Clemence Mitchell following an operation to remove agonizing ‘stag horn’ stones from his kidneys – so called because of their striking resemblance to antlers. He’s still suffering from a burning and stinging pain when he pees and has noticed lumps in his urine. Worried that he might have another infection, Dr Clemence Mitchell makes sure his latest sample is marked urgent for the laboratory.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 42
Illness and injury tend to take us by surprise. That’s the experience of the patients who feature in tonight’s episode of GPs: Behind Closed Doors.
Abigail was travelling on the London Underground when she suffered a nightmare accident. As she alighted from her train she lost her footing and slipped down the gap between the platform edge and the carriage. Luckily her boyfriend had the presence of mind to pull her out of the gap before the train moved off again, but there was nothing he could do to prevent the injury that Abigail had sustained to her leg – a massive, livid bruise covering her entire thigh. Now, weeks later, Abigail’s injury doesn’t seem to be showing much sign of improvement - an unusual case for her GP Dr Chris Pearce to deal with.
Meanwhile Dr William Laird is in consultation with Ivy, a young mum who is surprised that her breasts have started leaking milk – even though she stopped breastfeeding her son several years ago. Dr Laird attempts to get to the bottom of things.
And Dr Clemence Mitchell meets Callum, a young man who lives in a communal home where a case of scabies has been discovered. Callum lives with 13 other people, all of whom are now on high alert for the telltale, itchy red bumps that signify an infestation of the pesky parasite.
Also tonight, Dr Sian Morris brings a sense of closure and relief to a young woman when she is able to confirm a diagnosis. Deborah has been suffering from muscle pain, fatigue and general malaise for years but until now the exact reason for these has been difficult to pin down. Now however, Dr Morris is able to confirm what Deborah has long suspected – she has Fibromyalgia, a relatively common but not particularly well-understood condition.
Across the corridor Dr Sara Kayat is talking to Michael, a gentleman who is experiencing breathing difficulties and congestion. It transpires that Michael is actually very stressed following the deaths of several family members. He is also worried that he may have lung cancer. Dr Kayat attempts to put his mind at rest.
And Dr Patrick Bower seeks advise from a specialist during a consultation with his patient who’s ear is so painful, it’s causing her to cry.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors Episode 43
Several patients who fear they may have a serious illness have their mind’s put at rest by the Balham Park GPs in this episode.
John has come to see Dr Chris Pearce complaining of tingling feeling on one side of his face; an inability to close one of his eyes properly and a drooping lip which means he can’t drink his tea properly. John is worried that he may have suffered a stroke, but after a thorough examination, Dr Pearce diagnoses Bells Palsey – a common, non-life threatening condition that will clear up in time.
Meanwhile, Dr Previna Chana is in consultation with Victoria and her young daughter Diana who has been complaining of occasional chest pains. A thorough examination reveals nothing untoward and so Dr Chana advises mum to keep track of any further episodes in a health diary.
And across the corridor, Rochelle has brought her baby boy in to see Dr Kylan Stray, concerned that one of his testicles hasn’t descended. After examining the baby Dr Stray reassures Rochelle that this is nothing serious and that she doesn’t need to worry. The situation will be monitored and if it doesn’t resolve itself in the next few weeks a simple hospital procedure will sort things out.
Meanwhile, Dr Chana is talking to Andrea, a visually impaired woman whose eyesight was damaged when she was caught in a house fire as a child. Andrea is hoping to compete in an archery completion and requires a note from her GP so the organizers can make sure she is competing in the correct category.
And Dr Chris Pearce gets a visit from Jason, a gentleman who has recently been involved in a car accident. Jason does not appear to have suffered any injuries but Dr Pearce gives him the once over just to be sure.
Also tonight, Dr Eleanor Beecraft rolls up her sleeves and takes on a cluster of verrucas that are troubling schoolboy Ben. The condition is highly contagious so Dr Beecraft advises the lad’s father on how to prevent them spreading to the rest of the family.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 1
“GPs: Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files” takes the hit Channel 5 show “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” to a whole new level. Over the course of seven specials, we revisit the most memorable, moving, heartwarming and life affirming patient consultations from the first three series of “GP’s: Behind Closed Doors” and embellish them with astonishingly frank interviews with the patients themselves.
In this, the first “GP’s: Behind Closed Doors – The Patient Files” program, we revisit the case of Janet Stephens, a woman who suffers from ‘Personality Disorder’ - a little understood but nonetheless devastating mental illness. We first met Janet in Series 2 of “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” when she came in to the Putneymead Group Medical Practice to see Dr Ali Hassas. At that time Janet was in a great deal of distress: she had not bathed for several weeks; had discovered that her body was infested with fleas and was stockpiling medication with thoughts of using the drugs to take her own life.
In the intervening months since we first met Janet, she has not undergone any miracle cures and still struggles daily with her disorder. She is desperate for the general public to have a better understanding of her condition and in a moving and unflinching interview offers up a candid account of how she first became unwell; what it actually feels like to have a personality disorder; how her illness has effected her family life and her hopes for a better future.
Also interviewed in this episode is Sheila Plummer – a long term patient of Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah. Sheila is a long term smoker – a really long term smoker: she started smoking at the tender age of 11 and recently celebrated her 80th birthday! As a result of her habit, Sheila now suffers from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), which manifests itself in a persistent cough and leaves her struggling for breath after any sort of exercise. Sheila’s therefore decided it’s finally time to quit the fags and it’s the staff at Balham Park Surgery to help her!
Sheila is what you might call a ‘character’ and in a hilarious interview she sheds light her long and colourful life, her enormous family and of course her long distinguished smoking career
Balham Park Surgery Patient Zahara Ghory, first appeared on “GPs” early in series three when she arrived in Dr Claire Taylor’s consultation room struggling to breath. Zahara suffers from chronic asthma and after being stabilized by Dr Taylor was whisked away by ambulance for further treatment in hospital. Now fully recovered, Zahara describes that terrifying day in a revealing interview that highlights just how dangerous and life threatening a serious asthma attack can be. Sharing the interviewees chair with Zahara is her mother Beryl who offers a different perspective on asthma by explaining how distressing it is to watch your child in the grips of an attack that could potentially kill them.
This episode’s other interviewees are Richard and Theresa Aldridge, two of the most popular patients from series 2 of “GPs”. Richard and Theresa have learning difficulties but live an independent life in Balham, often visiting their GP Dr Kieron Earney for a chat and check-up. In a touching and funny interview Richard and Theresa describe how they met, fell in love and got married, and how they provide constant support to one another in what can be a difficult and uncaring world.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 2
“GPs: Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files” takes the hit Channel 5 show “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” to a whole new level. Over the course of seven specials, we revisit the most memorable, moving, heartwarming and life affirming patient consultations from the first three series of “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” and embellish them with astonishingly frank interviews with the patients themselves.
This “GP’s: Behind Closed Doors – The Patient Files” is an opportunity to revisit the most compelling, emotional and often very amusing consultations featuring OAPs.
When elderly patient Charles Ferriroli came to see Dr Laura Neil in Series 2 he faced a stark choice – either to undergo risky, major heart surgery or to resign himself to a steep decline in his health and likely death within a year or two. During a revealing interview, Charles explains his motives for opting to have the operation despite the potential risks. It’s a fascinating look into why some older people decide to undergo a dangerous medical intervention towards the end of their lives whilst others prefer to allow nature to take its course. Charles offers up this insight with candour, a wry wit and some surprising revelations regarding his still healthy sex life.
Also interviewed in this OAP special is Susan Aldred who first appeared in Series 2 when she came in to see Dr Alison Kirkland. As soon as Susan entered the consultation room it was clear something was seriously wrong - the entire right hand side of her face and neck was covered by an enormous, angry looking bruise.
During this interview, Susan sheds new light on her injury – how one minute she had been walking back from work as normal and the next she had come- to lying on the pavement with a police officer in attendance. At first Susan thought she had been hit by a car or assaulted but it later transpired that, for some reason, she had passed out and crashed onto the pavement face first.
Susan’s physical recovery progressed well but the emotional scars would take longer to heal and in this interview she offers encouragement and inspiration to other elderly people who may be struggling to regain their confidence and independence after suffering a fall.
Fred and Joan Mills are an elderly couple who are regular attendees at the Balham Park Surgery (Series 3) where they receive treatment from Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah. They may be in their eighties but Fred and Joan are still full of life and have no intention of throwing in the towel just yet – even if that does mean endless trips to their GP to get their bodies patched up. In their interview they reflect on how they met; their long marriage; how they still struggle to come to terms with the fact that their bodies are letting them down and how they help each other through the tough times.
Also interviewed in this episode are Catherine and Nora, two elderly ladies who we first met when they came to see Health Care Assistant Paa Siaw for a blood test in Series 3. Catherine and Nora are lifelong friends who made the decision to move in together when several of their other friends passed away. Now, Catherine and Nora help each other out in daily life and provide constant friendship and companionship for each other – something they believe is absolutely essential for all elderly people.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 3
“GPs: Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files” takes the hit Channel 5 show “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” to a whole new level. Over the course of seven specials, we revisit the most memorable, moving, heartwarming and life affirming patient consultations from the first three series of “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” and embellish them with astonishingly frank interviews with the patients themselves.
One in five patients who suffer from an eating disorder will eventually succumb to either the illness or to suicide. That was the stark reality facing Karen Christoffersen when she came to see Dr Kieran Earney in Series 2.
The university student was caught in a dark cycle of binge eating and purging with laxatives every day. She hadn't had a period for 2 years and was regularly self-harming. Karen clearly had a mountain to climb if she was ever to recover and in this astonishing interview she describes how she did just that: having regained control of her eating Karen graduated from university with a first and is now happily married. Karen’s experiences have left her with an ability to forensically analyze the allure of eating disorders - and their ultimate futility. She also has the authority to offer pragmatic advice to the countless others who still struggle with anorexia and bulimia.
We first met patient Leonard Joseph in Series 2 when he came in to see Dr Ali Hassas, eager to tell his GP the life changing news that he had, “just been diagnosed with stage one bladder cancer of an aggressive type”!
Since then Leonard has been waging a successful battle against the disease and in this special show, during a typically forthright interview, Leonard tells us all about it. When he was told that his treatment would involve having his bladder and prostate gland removed Leonard didn’t hesitate, viewing those vital body parts as no more than, “a bad tooth that needed to be taken out”.
That’s the pragmatic, indomitable attitude that Leonard has adopted throughout this journey and it makes for an inspirational story that will resonate with all those facing adversity in their life.
Leslie Hillsley is another heartening patient who doesn’t believe in letting the world get him down. Leslie is a long term patient of Dr Chris Pearce at the Balham Park Surgery (Series 3) and the two have developed a close bond that manifests itself in their easy going, often hilarious, consultations. However, Leslie’s amusing claims that he, “saves up his yawns” and “can eat around 30 chicken nuggets in one go” conceal a difficult life that saw Leslie made homeless following the death of his mother. Back on his feet now, Leslie describes himself as, “one of the lucky ones” and, despite his health problems and his low income, remains resolutely upbeat about life, “I’m happy…happy go lucky”.
Also sitting in the interviewees chair tonight are Kenneth and Joan Evans, a couple who are in their 90’s and 80’s respectively. Although still active, they worry about the future, particularly Joan. She doesn’t want to go in a home and would rather, “just end it with a cyanide pill” when her time comes. It’s a no nonsense insight into the emotions we can all expect to experience as we approach the end of our lives.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 4
“GPs: Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files” takes the hit Channel 5 show “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” to a whole new level. Over the course of seven specials, we revisit the most memorable, moving, heartwarming and life affirming patient consultations from the first three series of “GPs: Behind Closed Doors” and embellish them with astonishingly frank interviews with the patients themselves.
Charles Patterson was recently diagnosed with a cancerous tonsil and has undergone treatment to have it removed. Throughout his ordeal Charles has been looked after tirelessly by his wife Brigid. Their interview is basically a love story during which we learn about how Brigid and Charles met 30 years ago; their various business ventures (including running a topless bar) and how Charles’ illness has bound them even closer together.
We first met patient Toni Kerrigan when she came to see Dr Ashleigh Helm in Series 2, suffering with chronic depression. Toni is now in a much better place and in this unflinching interview she sheds light on the circumstances that left her so desperate as a teenager, that she considered suicide favourable to carrying on with her young life.
Born in South Africa, Toni’s mum committed suicide when she was 8. At that time, she was on holiday with her grandparents in England, and she has never been back to see her brother and sister. Life in the UK was hard for Toni and her grandparents and at the age of 15 she was taken into care. Depression and a couple of suicide attempts followed, and Toni’s state of mind took a further knock when she was diagnosed with Diabetes – an illness people with mental health issues can find particularly hard to cope with as it requires a great deal of self-care to manage properly.
Thankfully, Toni’s life is now back on track. She’s got her diabetes under control; her depression has lifted; she graduated with a first from university; she’s got a long-term partner and she’s looking forward to a much brighter future which, will include, she hopes, being reunited with her long lost siblings.
Sammy Cummings is another patient whose mental health issues were triggered by a traumatic event. During his interview, Sammy reveals that after doing well at school he secured a job in The City. However the death of his father in 1979 heralded the onset of Bipolar Disorder, a mental health condition that has caused Sammy to be sectioned on a number of occasions.
Sammy is a patient of veteran GP, Dr Patrick Bower (Series 3) and it’s his job to ensure Sammy does not suffer a relapse. So far so good. Sammy has not had to take any Bipolar medication for the last five years a fact of which Sammy is immensely proud.
Sammy is something of a fixture at the Balham Park Surgery (Series 3), as are Michael and Brian Fish who are also interviewed in this week’s episode. Michael suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease brought on by a lifetime of smoking – a habit he vows he will never quit. Brian is Michael’s son and carer and they live together in a home they share with a huge menagerie of pets. Michael has needed help around the house for as long as Brian can remember and so, when his mother died, he simply took over as his father’s carer. This couple act more like best friends than father and son and during this interview we gain an insight into their unconventional and endearing home life.Screener
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 5
We first met 28 year-old hairdresser Carrie in series 3 when she came to see Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah concerned that she may be suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder – an anxiety condition that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance.
Now, in a brutally honest and moving interview, Carrie shines a light on this little reported condition that is estimated to affect 1 in 50 people and can lead to depression, anxiety, ‘self-surgery’ and suicide. Thankfully, Carrie has turned a corner and her first hand experience of BDD and how she is beating it will prove an inspiration to other sufferers.
Carrie was persuaded to seek help for her condition by her friend Antonia who is interviewed alongside her. Antonia describes the helplessness she felt, watching her, “beautiful friend” fall prey to BDD; why she chose to intervene; and the joy she feels watching Carrie regain control of her life.
Alan & his long-term partner John are two OAPs who shared many international adventures when they were younger. Since then Alan has developed a number of health problems and is now largely confined to a wheelchair. Despite these setbacks Alan and John remain incredibly upbeat and positive about life.
In their interview Alan and John (who is also Alan’s full time carer) reflect on their long life together. They also describe, with wit and candor, what it was like to live in the UK when being homosexual was illegal. A time, not so long ago, when the threat of being imprisoned for the ‘crime’ of being a gay couple was an everyday reality.
Milton is a middle-aged gentleman who has been dealt a difficult hand in life. Caught in a poverty trap, Milton wants to improve his position but a lack of regular work means he lives under the constant threat of eviction and homelessness.
During this interview, Milton expresses the gratitude he feels towards his GP Dr ‘Shilts’ Shah. In Milton’s uncertain world, Dr Shah is the one consistent, anchor point he can rely on: the one person he can come to for advice and guidance. And, with his GPs help, the remarkably positive Milton still believes he can turn his life around by finding suitable work and eventually a place he can call home.
Cheshire-born Sue grew up in an upright English family where personal problems tended to get swept under the plush carpets. Thankfully her friends broke the mold, persuading Sue to visit Dr Ashleigh Helm (in series 2) to get to the bottom of the tremors that were making simple tasks (such as eating a bowl of soup) all but impossible.
In her interview Sue describes the fear of the unknown she experienced before going to see Dr Helm. Were her tremors simply a sign of stress or did they signify the onset of Parkinson’s Disease?
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 6
Sherece Penfold was the first patient we met at Balham Park Surgery in Series 3. When she sought help from Dr Sara Kayat for extreme Anxiety, she had hit “rock bottom.” Visibly upset and shaken, Sherece didn’t know what was causing her to feel so afraid. Diagnosed with depression at 17, in the past she struggled to even leave her bed, let alone cope in public places or to work.
In a revealing interview we learn that Sherece struggled to come to terms with the death of her father, a man she barely even knew. Did she have the right to grieve for him? Who could she talk to about how she felt? She was just 14. It was a very confusing time for her and she didn’t want to worry the one person closest to her, her Nan.
Sherece is in a good place now; she is happy and feels like a huge burden has been lifted since seeing the Dr and attending some counselling. She’s enjoying life again and hasn’t cried in a long time. Not only that but this young woman has an important message to share - let’s talk about mental health.
Also tonight we hear from Rosanne Wickes who is the full time carer for her 100 year old mother Joan who has advanced dementia. In a frank and often funny interview, Rosanne shines a light on the challenges of looking after a relative with dementia, 24 hours a day. What shines through is that fact that it’s Rosanne’s love and devotion for her mum that gives her the strength to carry on.
Eight year old Sebastian and mum Valerie pay a visit to Nurse Sara Moloney (Series 3) to have stitches removed after his recent open-heart surgery – his third cardiac operation. What should have been a straightforward visit turns into a distressing reminder for Sebastian of his time in hospital, an ordeal that neither he nor mum will ever forget.
In an emotional interview, proud mum Valerie tells us about how hard it is to be the mum of a sick child, especially when things are beyond your control. But Sebastian isn’t going to be held back by his condition, he’s going to be an astronaut one day!
Sometimes when a patient visits their GP they are slow to reveal the real issue that is troubling them. Hayley Sherlock was just 23 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, it was hard news to accept. Why did she get it? Surely cancer only affects older people?
When Hayley comes to see Dr Sara Kayat (Series 3), it’s her low mood and loss of confidence that are the real issues at hand but the doctor is quick to spot this. We learn that she struggled with the fact that her friends continued to enjoy themselves, whilst she was dressed in a hospital gown hooked up to machines wondering if she will have children one day – life changing things for any young woman to contemplate.
Thankfully, Hayley got the all clear and is planning to go travelling, as she says, you can get a career anytime.
GPs Behind Closed Doors - The Patient Files Episode 7
Tonight: a dignified and extremely moving interview with Kayla Mead whose partner Kevin Duckham recently died of lung cancer.
We met Kayla and Kevin in Series 3 of “GPs” when they came in to see Dr Eleanor Beecraft. Having been given a terminal diagnosis, Kevin and Kayla bought a narrow boat and started a cancer charity, providing day trips for other terminal cancer sufferers.
In her interview Kayla describes how she and Kevin met; their unconventional lifestyle; their pragmatic attitude towards euthanasia; the invaluable support they received from the NHS and Macmillan and Kevin’s final hours, which Kayla describes as a, “beautiful death”.
Also tonight: Harry Higgs’ on-going battle with alcoholism means he is a regular patient at the Balham Park Practice. Harry is currently sober, and determined to remain so, and in this frank and revealing interview he offers a vivid account of a lifetime of heavy drinking.
Harry, who’s father also drank, had his first taste of alcohol aged just 10 and as a teenager was drinking 10 or 11 pints in a single session. Now in his 50’s, Harry’s continued drinking has led to divorce, violence, personal injury, imprisonment and mental health problems. Describing himself as a, “Jekyll and Hyde” personality, Harry is acutely aware of the damage his illness has caused to himself and his loved ones. But if, as he claims, he has finally kicked the booze, his future looks positive.
Tonight’s third interview features Sophie Elwes, an inspirational young woman who is paralysed from the chest down following an accident.
Sophie was at a friend’s party when she fell from a balcony. She damaged her spinal cord, was in a coma for five weeks and given only a 40% chance of survival. She describes how she didn’t believe her doctors when they told her she would never walk again and how, when the truth finally dawned, she went through a period of mourning.
Now, having adapted to life in a wheelchair, Sophie has an astonishingly positive mental attitude. She realises her accident has made her a better, more rounded, “less shallow” person, able to appreciate the important things in life. And she has an ambition to represent Britain in the Para Winter Olympics as a downhill ski racer!
Love conquers all, is the prevailing message from tonight’s fourth patient files interview. Keith Prosser was filling up at a service station when he collapsed unconscious – the victim of a huge tumour in his stomach that he did not know was there. The tumour was causing massive internal bleeding and by the time his wife May arrived at his hospital bedside, Keith was slipping away, despite having received a six-pint blood transfusion.
According to Keith it was May’s voice that pulled him back from the abyss, compelling him to open his eyes and fight to remain conscious. Now, having had the tumour successfully removed, Keith has regained his strength and He and May are making every day of their new life together count.
- Series Title : GPs: Behind Closed Doors
- Format : 53 x 60'
- Production company : Knickerbockerglory
- Year of production : 2015
- Commissioning channels : Channel 5
- Availability : 01/11/2015