Over the past few weeks I have read of people?s concern about various mental health issues and the effect this may have upon the renewal of their licences, should legislation be passed giving the police access to their medical records.

Having spent the past 18 years employed in the welfare-to-work industry, dealing with a wide range of people and their sometimes traumatic issues, I became ill in April this year and saw my GP. I was diagnosed with acute depression and stress, brought on by my employment, and signed off as unfit to work. Since then, I have seen my GP regularly and have begun to know him a little, after being a patient of his practice for more than 10 years. During one visit, I raised the topic of fieldsports and shooting specifically.

Though never having been a shooter, he was interested and asked many pertinent and non-medical questions regarding my shoot, the rearing of birds and flightponds. He was delighted to be offered, and is extremely keen to accept, a brace of birds. I raised the topic of people having official access to medical records. His response to this was that only if he felt there was a genuine issue at stake would he condone and permit this and even then, potentially, would contact the patient before any access was granted.

While I realise that every case is different and that each individual has to make their own judgement based on personal circumstances, I wanted to highlight the fact that not every GP is ?anti? and that, should any other readers be dealing with circumstances similar to my own, perhaps they should speak to their GP more openly.

I shall be returning to work soon, have my renewal due in January and am looking forward to the coming season immensely.

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