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A customisable doctor's bag

This traditional, stylish medical case offers GPs substantial storage.

Like many GPs, I have never owned a proper doctor's bag, not because I'm too mean to buy one, but because there was always another bag around that would do the job.

So I was very excited at the prospect of reviewing a traditional doctor's bag.

This bag is specially designed for doctors, in as much as it has provision inside for all the things a doctor needs for surgeries and house calls.

Available in black or brown, this looks like a quality item; smart, well finished, stylish and very professional. Finished in leather and sturdily made, you get the feeling it will last. My GP partner has had an identical case for 13 years and it still looks as good as new.

With security a concern, each clasp has a three-figure combination lock.

The heavy-duty leather handles are built to last. Unlock the bag and it is immediately clear that unlike some other models, it opens out to 180 deg, allowing it to lie flat on the desk.

In contrast to the exterior, the inside is soft beige leather. The bottom half was deep enough for all of my equipment, including the sphygmomanometer, auriscope, ophthalmoscope and more besides.

Foam insert
If you prefer to secure items in the case, you have the option of customising it to your exact requirements. Inside is a fabric-covered foam insert, a sheet of sticky-backed plastic and a disposable scalpel.

The idea is to place things on the plastic sheet, draw around them with a pen, then use the plastic as a stencil to cut out equipment-shaped holes with the disposable scalpel.

This does reduce the space inside the case, so I did not use it. Without the insert, the bag was more than large enough to take all of my equipment, except my digital camera - but I haven't found a case yet that would take that.

The real benefits of this bag can be seen when you look at the top half.

This has the usual pouches for folders and papers up to A4, but leather straps at either end allow the pouches to be widened, so they can hold thicker documents. There is a zipped pocket for smaller items and a credit card sized pouch with two pen holders.

A small leather tab at the top pulls forward to reveal a further secret compartment. This contains a pre-cut foam insert, with eight small bottles for emergency drugs. Below are three boxes, one especially designed to hold various ampoules.

I filled the other two boxes with all sorts of useful items, including needles, syringes, tourniquet and blood bottles, a tape measure, a stapler and even a tuning fork.

As if that weren't enough storage, below this are three smaller boxes with clear lids. My only reservation is that the boxes feel a bit flimsy, and during the week I tried out the case I found that once or twice, some lids fell off, spilling the contents.

Otherwise, this doctor's bag is a dream. I wish that I had bought one years ago; having everything in one place and so easily accessible makes life a whole lot easier.

- Dr Nigel Stollery is a GP in Kibworth, Leicestershire, and a clinical assistant in dermatology at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

- Equipment provided by Williams Medical Supplies

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