Thursday 16th January 1992   Thursday morning 11:50

Dr Lewis seems fascinated by sore throats. “After all, students,” she will say, “they are the bread and butter of general practice.” She will measure the patient’s pulse rate and temperature. She spends ages looking at the tonsils. Sometimes, she examines them twice. She will always check for enlarged lymph nodes. If there is a cough, she will listen to the patient’s chest.

Once she has finished her clinical assessment, Dr Lewis will carefully weigh up all the information she has gathered. She jots everything down and scratches her head. She uses two different scoring systems to work out whether she should prescribe antibiotics or not.

“I think you will need some antibiotics for these tonsils,” she told Ben Barnes this morning. William James seemed disappointed to hear that his sore throat would almost certainly get better by itself. Dr Lewis wasn’t sure about Lesley Hughes and they agreed that she should come back in two days if her throat wasn’t improving.

As far as my Dad is concerned, almost every sore throat will clear up without antibiotics (he is probably right) and he’ll just have a quick look.

The bread and butter of general practice.