GP work can be professionally isolated. Despite working with 6 GP partners, we each spend the majority of the day alone in our rooms, consulting with patients.

Coffee (and cake) get us together daily to offer support and clinical advice on patients. I also attend a Continuing Professional Development group monthly, where we discuss difficult cases and new clinical guidelines. These interactions provide me with reassurance of my clinical abilities, and keep me up to date with evidence based medicine.

In contrast Zambian clinical officers frequently work alone, many miles from other clinicians, without any such support.

Recently it occurred to me that a  percentage of the questions I receive from Zambia are for confirmation of a possible diagnosis and treatment. This suggests that as well as providing advice, we can also provide reassurance to the C.O's of their diagnostic skills and boost their confidence (especially those who are newly qualified).  At the same time, we can impart any up to date information, helping them continue to practice evidence based medicine. This beneficial interaction between professionals is frequently overlooked, but personally I find them invaluable, and hope the C.O's do too.