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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Changing attitudes to health and wellbeing

    Changing attitudes to health and wellbeing

    Posted on August 22nd, 2023

    Established in Edinburgh’s Dean Village in 2003, this year marks YourGP’s 20th year. It’s a significant milestone, and one that we will be celebrating in a variety of ways, not least with the opening of our brand-new practice on Edinburgh’s Dundas Street. Ahead of this exciting new chapter, we’re reflecting on the past. Read on as YourGP Clinic Lead, Dr Cathrow, discusses the nation’s changing attitudes to health and wellbeing over the past two decades, the lasting impact of the pandemic, and the improvements she hopes to see in the next 20 years…

    Do you think attitudes to health and wellbeing have changed in the last 20 years? If so, how?

    During my time in healthcare over the past 20 years I have seen a hugely positive shift in patients’ attitudes. People are more attuned to general wellbeing and are looking for a more holistic approach to their healthcare. The wellbeing movement champions diet, exercise and mindfulness (amongst other practices) to bring about good physical and mental health. Today, patients are exploring treatments and lifestyle that can prevent ill health and bolster good health. Focus has moved more to prevention over the past 20 years as opposed simply looking for cures. We are seeing a much more engaged population who are taking control of their health and wellbeing in a more proactive manner.

    What do you think has influenced this change in attitude?

    Expanded media has certainly influenced a change in attitude. Access to social media and easy access to online health care information has fuelled the change. There has been a huge step-change in general attitudes towards mental health and a shift to more inclusive ‘wellbeing’ care being sought out. Social media, education and a more open societal attitude has allowed these changes. This change is being propelled by the social influencers our children and young people see on a regular basis.

    What effect do you think the pandemic has had on the health of Edinburgh residents?

    The COVID-19 pandemic does appear to have changed the attitudes of Edinburgh residents. In general, people seem far more health-aware and pro-active in improving and maintaining their health. Health and wellbeing have become a priority for many people and they are now scheduling in more time to attend to these. We are seeing more people seeking out health checks and looking to ensure good health to ensure their good health for loved ones in particular.

    Do you think attitudes to mental health have changed in the last 20 years? If so, why do you think this is?

    Mental health has certainly become a key priority for patients in recent times. This has evolved over the past 20 years with the wellbeing movement. The pandemic has further cast light on the issue and now most patients see their mental health as an equal partner to their physical health. It is now widely accepted that all individuals, regardless of sex, gender and social standing are deserving of good mental health and mental health care.

    What improvements would you like to see in the health of people in Edinburgh in the next 20 years?

    I am hopeful that the people of Edinburgh can continue to seek out and receive excellent holistic health care and enjoy life-long good health. I believe that we are seeing people taking charge of their lifestyles and general health and in doing so are promoting better health for longer. I would like to offer support in enabling patients to gain their health goals and continue to find improved health along their journey.

    What is your best advice for living a healthy life?

    I think that the pandemic has taught all of us how fragile health can be. It has taught us all not to take things for granted. In order to maintain health as far as possible, I would urge patients to listen to their bodies and minds and to be responsive to any changes that they encounter. Physical and psychological changes can be worrying, and still, many people choose to ignore these. However, we have learnt that seeking advice early can have significant benefits to patients and will often mean issues can be dealt with promptly. Following a healthy diet, getting good exercise and practising self-care can all promote good mind and body health, and should also include the expectation that changes or problems are taken to the GP so that onward investigations or treatments can be organised.

    What is the most rewarding part of your job?

    As GPs we are in a privileged position offering assistance to our patients. Being able to untangle a problem or a worry with a patient and helping them to gain better health and understanding of their health is immensely rewarding.

    What are the biggest challenges you face as a GP?

    GPs manage uncertainty with their patients. This can be a challenge. However, our skill set enables us to communicate issues of risk and uncertainty with patients and we work hard to collaborate with patients, putting them at the centre of their care. Good GP care should focus in on the patient and look to offer broad and holistic care. This can sometimes be difficult within the confines of short appointments. We are proud to offer extended appointment times at YourGP to enable a more relaxed and comprehensive consultation in which patients can open up about their concerns and GPs can fully explore the needs and wishes of their patients.

    Do you have any advice for anyone considering entering the medical profession?

    Medicine is a highly rewarding profession to join. It is ever evolving, fast paced, and provides exciting opportunities for those who practice. For those considering a career in medicine, I would suggest getting as much work experience as possible – whether this is shadowing a team on a ward or in a GP surgery, working in a caring role such as a health care assistant, or supporting a hospital or care home in a general services role such as a porter. Any exposure to health care in its many settings will stand you in good stead to move forward in the profession. Most importantly, stay positive, keep going and stay curious – about people, about learning, about all the new things you would like to do.

    What do you think sets YourGP apart?

    YourGP offers comprehensive GP care in a peaceful setting. We offer extended appointment times, allowing for a thorough consultation process. We offer advice and investigations tailored to your needs. Our highly trained teams of GMC registered doctors aim to work with you to achieve your health goals – whether this is to investigate concerns, follow-up known health issues, provide surgical or contraceptive services, or offer lifestyle advice and interventions to promote your continued wellbeing. We strive to offer consistently excellent care in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.


    I was in significant amount of pain and was seen very quickly by Dr McFarlane. He was able to immediately identify the problem. He carried out the minor surgery immediately, with great skill. I would not hesitate in recommending him as an excellent GP.


    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 |

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.