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Ben Douglas

  • Capita's handling of performers list affecting numbers of GPs, says GP group

    Ben Douglas's comment 21 Jul 2019 5:08am

    I moved from Scotland to England after I completed GP training. It took 9 months to get on the Performers List. Capita were utterly incompetent and repeatedly lied.
    I lost what little savings I had, went heavily into debt, and almost went bankrupt.

  • GP petition threatens RCGP resignation due to 'controversial' conference speaker

    Ben Douglas's comment 02 Jun 2019 11:09am

    Lots of disparaging comments on here, against "the Left" under cover of anonymity. How brave of you...

    JHB is a professional agitator, who is well versed in current propaganda tactics. There is no sensible debate possible, if the person is not intending to openly debate. JHB is not some clueless journalist looking to be educated. She is pushing a hard-right agenda, and knows exactly how to rile up her followers, without ever crossing the line into illegality. She knows how to portray plausible deniability, but I'm sure she knows exactly the impact her words will have.

    If you think this is about freedom of speech, you've already handed JHB victory. Revoking her invitation has at least shown some degree of damage limitation, and is hopefully slightly reassuring to our BAME colleagues that we hear their concerns.

    Once again, the RCGP have demonstrated just how politically incompetent and naive they are. Once again, the RCGP have overstepped their remit, strayed into an area they don't understand, and made a huge mess.

    And for those of you using the term "snowflake" - using that pejorative term only invalidates your part in the discussion.

  • Dr Arvind Madan: ‘Practices waiting passively for change will not suffice’

    Ben Douglas's comment 04 Aug 2018 0:55am

    On the issue of the Returners Scheme, it’s massively underfunded (particularly when NHSE are spending so much on international recruitment), the exams are rigged, and it takes so long you’ll nearly go bankrupt. I’m still struggling financially, 3 years after I finished the new scheme, and I only avoided going bankrupt because of financial help from the GP charity The Cameron Fund. NHSE blatantly do not care about GPs.

  • NHS England invests £10m in bid to keep new GPs from leaving profession

    Ben Douglas's comment 29 May 2018 11:59pm

    It’s now 3 years after I was almost bankrupted by the ‘new’ Returners Scheme, and I’m still struggling financially. The BMA, RCGP, and particularly NHSE can all just piss off. They’re all completely incompetent.

  • No one likes us – and we don’t care

    Ben Douglas's comment 10 Apr 2018 11:20pm

    The pact has broken down all right. The public have refused to vote for a better NHS and have therefore failed to take responsibility for the welfare of the staff running it. We can’t look after you if you don’t look after us. You’ve unleashed the vindictive Tories, who have gone about doing EXACTLY what they always do. The blood is on the public's hands, not just the politicians.

  • Over 500 GPs tempted back to practise in England through NHS scheme

    Ben Douglas's comment 31 Jan 2018 9:23pm

    Ok, now for the reality of the Returners Scheme - it took me an entire year due to all the bureaucracy, despite passing both exams at band 4. No-one gets band 5, as the exams are poorly examined and seem rigged. You only get the bursary during the attachment, so by the time you can get to it, you're already in a lot of financial difficulty, and will probably need charitable help (I got the bursary for 3 months out of 12). The whole process nearly bankrupted me. It's now 3 years since I got back to the UK, I'm still paying off large debts, and I had to take out a loan to pay my tax bill. It's been incredibly stressful, and the whole system is a disgrace.

  • NHS England hails returner scheme for 400 GPs coming back to practise

    Ben Douglas's comment 19 Oct 2017 2:26pm

    I almost went bankrupt in 2015 while doing the 'new' Returner scheme. I'm still paying off the debts, and will have to take out a loan to pay my tax bill in January. The exams are a farce, and it's a disgrace that the bandings are set so virtually no experienced GPs will get straight through.

  • NHS hiring physician associate ambassadors to promote general practice

    Ben Douglas's comment 14 Oct 2017 9:23pm

    "Once qualified they can take patient histories, see patients with undifferentiated symptoms and formulate management plans or request investigations"

    According to whom? I don't believe they will be experienced enough to see patients with undifferentiated symptoms. I spent 10 years training to be qualified to do this.

  • 600 overseas GPs to be recruited for English practices by April

    Ben Douglas's comment 22 Aug 2017 11:22pm

    I'm an experienced UK GP with MRCGP, and after only 3 years in Germany I had to do the new Returner scheme - it took a YEAR, and I almost went bankrupt. NHS England do not care AT ALL about GPs. And it makes me sick that they are now throwing money at these other initiatives, when they'll happily force GPs into severe debt.

  • Jeremy Hunt in row with Professor Stephen Hawking over future of NHS

    Ben Douglas's comment 22 Aug 2017 10:36am

    Hunt isn't stupid. He's calculating and deliberate. He's the hatchet man for the Torys and their friends, and he's been the most 'successful' (at implementing the unpopular Tory policies) Health Secretary we've seen. Too many people are underestimating him, and we're losing ...badly.

  • GPs forced to get approval before referring patients to hospital

    Ben Douglas's comment 11 Aug 2017 11:56am

    We all have different levels of skill and knowledge, so there will always be variations in what different GPs refer. Plus, our secondary care colleagues already have the option to write back and suggest alternative options.

  • 'If you want to vent, don't do it in front of a trainee'

    Ben Douglas's comment 04 Aug 2017 11:16pm

    "...we know the pendulum will swing back again."

    No, we don't. This is where I fundamentally disagree with HSL. Yes, patients will still need to be seen, but it won't be GPs as we know them seeing them. Think I'm wrong? Look at OOH: most of the work is now being done by ANPs and paramedics where I am, and GPs are very thin on the ground. Our profession is disappearing.

    I also don't think GPs are going to be allowed to be in the driving seat for the new corporate-style superpractices. There's too many powerful vested interests waiting in the wings, and they have very skilled commercial lawyers. There's no way we'll be able to stand against that. Think I'm wrong? I know of situations in the US where lucrative healthcare contracts were fought over, and passed backwards and forwards on repeated appeals, for so long that the whole process had to be scrapped and restarted.

    I've also got direct experience of a US style healthcare company. I was bullied and harassed, on both clinical and non-clinical issues, by several levels of managers. They blatantly had no idea about a physician's professional obligations, and did not put patient care first. And PAs are a gift to those people: cheaper, less experienced, easier to replace...

    To think that somehow we will magically bounce back from this ever-deteriorating situation is painfully naive. While you're trying to engage with government and their proxies, the ones really in charge of this nightmare (the ones with powerful friends and promised rewards) are laughing at how gullible we all are.

  • NHS England looks to recruit 2,000 GPs from overseas to offset retirements

    Ben Douglas's comment 17 Jul 2017 5:08pm

    The Returner scheme in England has mandatory professional examinations, even if you've already passed MRCGP, and this is justified mainly for the purpose of ensuring that EU trained GPs with freedom of travel are up to scratch (and EU law forbids discrimination between UK and EU nationals). The Returner scheme nearly bankrupted me, and yet they're throwing money at recruitment companies trying to attract GPs from Europe, who are apparently going to get support right through the whole process. It's bloody ridiculous.

  • Don't denigrate profession in front of trainees, RCGP chair tells GPs

    Ben Douglas's comment 11 Jul 2017 1:22pm

    Dear Cedric. 30+ years as a partner eh? So not too far from retirement, with that decent pension ...that none of the current juniors will ever get (or any of us under 40-odd). Sorry, but it's all too easy for you to paint things as not that bad, when you're not facing having to retire at 70 (75?) with a crap pension. Or face becoming a salaried drone for a private healthcare company, for a crap salary and management harassment. Things really ARE awful, and about to get a whole lot worse.

  • One year on: what progress has the GP Forward View achieved?

    Ben Douglas's comment 14 Apr 2017 12:28pm

    No idea how you're deciding on these 'grades' - most of those are definite Fails by my reckoning. Boosting GP numbers "too early to tell" - you're f***ing kidding right?! GP mental health support "grade A" - I guess we're ignoring the horrific demoralisation and burnout of the workforce then?! Only the RCGP seems to have a more positive attitude towards GPFV than this article. FFS...

  • GPC to submit mass resignations once 60% of practices opt in

    Ben Douglas's comment 25 Jan 2017 7:30pm

    To those of you saying this is all part of the privatisation plan, you may well be right, but by staying in the system that is brutalising all of us what brilliant outcome are you expecting exactly?

  • GP unable to begin role for three months due to red tape

    Ben Douglas's comment 29 Nov 2016 2:14pm

    3 months? It took me a YEAR to get through the bloody Returner Scheme (the new one, which is scarcely better than the old one). You can guess how much income I've lost. I had to get help from the Cameron Fund to avoid going bankrupt.
    The exams are set at entirely the wrong level and the quality of the examiners seems very variable. It's a farce.

  • GP returners set for funding boost as NHS overhauls scheme

    Ben Douglas's comment 06 Oct 2016 2:38pm

    Marvellous. So, after doing the "new" Returners scheme last year, which cost me a YEAR in income, they're implementing "immediate, practical ways of helping GPs"...
    You utter b*stards.

  • The gratitude journal of Dr Heather Ryan, aged 29 and 3/4

    Ben Douglas's comment 27 Sep 2016 10:49am

    This should immediately be rolled out for GP Returners! Nothing like a bit of colouring in to take your mind off having to spend a year unable to work as a GP (after anything over 2 years out of GP), having to sit two additional professional exams (where it seems only 0.1% of GPs ever get band 5 and are allowed straight back to work - apparently no Returners are actually any good) and feeling so valued by the RCGP that they're expending every effort to get this ridiculous situation sorted (oh wait, no, they're really not...).

  • RCGP offers free membership for GP returners

    Ben Douglas's comment 30 Jun 2016 0:07am

    *firelighters (stupid autocorrect)