Post People: Dagenham GP Dr Waseem Mohi: “A good GP is a good communicator”

Dr Mohi in his Surgery at the Abbey Medical Centre in Barking

Dr Mohi in his Surgery at the Abbey Medical Centre in Barking - Credit: Archant

Dr Waseem Mohi, 41, worked as a doctor at the former Oldchurch Hospital before becoming a GP at Abbey Medical Centre in Barking. Dr Mohi has a wife and three children and he moved from Harold Hill to Harrow to look after his elderly parents. He currently works at Markyate Surgery in Markyate Road, Dagenham.

My father was a doctor and I always looked at the way patients received him, not as some kind of god, but as someone who just helped them out.

They’d come in with pain and grief and confusion and when they spoke to him I could see their faces fill with relief and the confusion just went. And that was something I wanted to help people feel.

Believe me, I feel that every day. Wherever I go, I feel I am a doctor. When you get a “thank you” from the patient, that makes my day and it makes my job.

I was born in India and I started work in Mumbai in a lot of government hospitals.

A day’s work there is equal to a month’s work in the UK. I was often on call for 48 hours at a time, it was just so busy, and sometimes I only found time to have a shower once in three days.

But I got hands-on experience doing everything, I used to do surgery there.

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Then I worked for a big private hospital. I wanted to move on and my sisters lived in the UK so I did my entrance exams.

I became a hospital doctor in 2001, and I did lots of bits – ear, nose and throat, A&E, orthopaedics, then neurosurgery.

I worked in Oldchurch Hospital so I have been part of this community for a long time.

I think a GP has to be a very good listener. I don’t want to be a doctor where I trample over the patient and say: “I know what’s wrong with you.”

A bad doctor who doesn’t listen to the patient’s history misses the diagnosis.

It’s all about communication. A good GP is a good communicator and, if they can’t do that, they’ve failed in my opinion.

A lot of GPs don’t take the time to listen to the patient and they bring a lot of psychological illness with them, worries and anxieties about what the illness could be.

They look things up themselves and get confused with mixed messages. But when you reassure them, it helps them to make sense of their worries.

GPs should not just focus on bodily health. Health is also the mental and social wellbeing of a person.

A mentally ill person is often a physically ill person and vice versa.

It’s good to take a broader aspect and ask, “is everything OK with you?” Some people seem fine but when I ask that they start crying.

I see about 20 patients a day. In the morning before lunchtime, I will see a child, a baby, a mother, an elderly gentleman, a young man, a man upset about his relationships with other people, a young professional stressed from work.

The job is so varied and needs multiple skills.

Nobody’s perfect, no one has attained their highest knowledge, so you need to look at yourself every day and think, “How can I make myself better?” And seek help. Not enough people ask for help.

You have to take responsiblility for your own health.

It affects you but it also affects your loved ones and people forget about that.