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We recently welcomed back Dr Harwell from Maternity Leave so no doubt many of you will be delighted to see her familiar face at YourGP in the coming weeks. We caught up with her to find out how she is settling back into her GP duties and what things have changed since she was last in the practice…
You recently returned from Maternity Leave. How are you settling back into YourGP?
I have returned from my second Maternity Leave and I have settled back in surprisingly quickly – I think being a mother to two boys under three means you have to be adaptable! Having said that, there are current issues such as strep group A and long COVID which I’ve had to revise and learn about in my study time, which I enjoy.
Did becoming a parent change your perspective of certain things as a GP?
There are several virulent infections in the UK currently, and understandably parents are vigilant to any harm to their children, who are more vulnerable to these infections. I can completely empathise with this and try to take the time to not only fully assess unwell children, but also talk through any concerns parents may have.
What do you love most about working with children?
Children often can’t tell you what they are suffering from, and it takes a proper examination to find clues about why they are unwell. I enjoy being able to take the time to earn their trust and to examine them in a calm manner.
What are some of the most common children’s health issues you see?
People often come with acute issues such as ear infections, chest infections and viral illnesses. However, sometimes parents bring their children if they feel that they can’t access the care they need in a timely way elsewhere. I have diagnosed coeliac disease in a five-year-old recently, for example.
What are some of the most popular children’s health services you offer?
We offer phlebotomy (blood taking) and vaccinations for children, which are popular services.
What is it about YourGP that makes it such a trusted choice for many parents?
We have continued commitment to care and we listen to feedback, to ensure we remain trusted by parents. Although Edinburgh is a large, growing capital city, it has many close-knit communities, and word of mouth often aids decision-making before choosing something like a medical service. That said, we see a wide range of patients, including tourists and the Edinburgh Festival staff.
What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you before you became a parent?
I did a trial in pregnancy to see if exposing my bump to sunlight would set the baby’s circadian rhythm to sleep all night. It doesn’t work. They are awake one to two hourly as newborns. It’s hard to imagine until you’re in it!
What’s the best piece of advice you would give any new parents?
They say in the army – why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie? Why lie when you can sleep? Now, I’m not saying being a parent is like fighting a war in the army… but it’s not far off! Prioritise your rest.
Got a question for Dr Harwell?
If you have questions concerning your children’s health or your own health and wellbeing, you can book an appointment with Dr Harwell at a time that suits you. Just email email@example.com or call us on 0131 225 5656. We are open six days a week, with short-notice appointments often available.
When Lyn booked me with Dr McFarlane and said ‘what he doesn’t know about sexual health isn’t worth knowing’ she was right. Thorough assessment, quick test and immediate treatment all in a relaxed, professional manner – Excellent!