Thank you Curious/Merlin. The GMC listens and engages with us, but is slow to respond and change.
Thank you for this article David. So here goes, I am a senior member of the profession. I am an assistant medical director with an ambulance trust, a clinical advisor with NHS England, GP lead for primary care streaming with an acute trust and an occasional Specialist Advisor with the CQC. Oh, and by the way, I suffer from depression and complex persist bereavement syndrome after the accidental death of my son, a trainee anaesthetist, from an opioid overdose. I am under the care of a both a psychiatrist and a psychologist at the Practitioner Health Programme. I have regular contact with the GMC regarding their handling of my son's substance use problem. They know I suffer from depression having announced it publicly at a conference in London last October on doctor well being, or more accurately, lack thereof. We need to challenge the stigma towards doctors' mental unwellness. But if mental illness in doctors is stigmatised, then you ain't seen nothing yet if you haven't seen our colleagues' attitudes towards substance use disorder in colleagues. No hope for the latter.
I wonder if you would be interested in a group to support survivors of doctor suicide. My son, an anaesthesia trainee, killed himself two years ago. I am working with Clare Gerada of the PHP to form such a group. Please contact me at email@example.com. I am also a GP and found return to medical practice difficult as you described in the Observer article the other month. I think of you since I read it. With all best wishes and all my support, Robin
The Canadian system (why did I leave?), provides doctors with virtually 100% subsidy since 1986. One pays the indemnity organisation directly and is then reimbursed by the state. Thus the state has no control over the terms of coverage. The organisation is a mutual.
Absolutely brilliant Richard! We are working on it! Love your column. Keep it up!
Dr Robin Warshafsky, MD, CCFP, MRCGP, FCFP, Deputy Medical Director, Integrated Care 24, not for profit OOH provider.
I am a Canadian immigrant and have been working in the UK for less than ten years. When I arrived, I marvelled at the NHS, calling Canada's system, NHS-lite. I now, sadly, fear for the NHS.
Health minister blames GPs for failing to offer patients choice - and claims 'many doctors take any excuse to keep appointments as short as possible'
Choice in the NHS is a sick joke. Lord Howe needs urgent treatment, a reality check (up).
My experience of choice in the NHS recently was having to choose between keeping my integrity, or my job, a choice no one should have to make. Without going into details, the practice was unsafe. After extensive, lengthy discussion with every single institution from the GMC on down, I was advised that my only choice was to dissolve my practice and tender for it, if I wanted to make the practice safe, and try to keep my job. I lost the tender and the privilege to look after the patients of my choice. A professional should never be forced by the NHS to choose between their integrity, and their job.
However, much more importantly, my patients were also denied their choice of GP. Neither they, nor I, chose to end the many hundreds of mutually satisfying GP-patient relationships that had endured for years. NHS England chose to end these relationships, in its patronizing “wisdom.”
I argue that the keystone of the NHS is the GP/patient relationship, and the quality and efficient care that that relationship can provide when all is well. Why can patients choose their hospital and consultant, but not their GP? And why is it right for the head of the NHS England procurement team to inform my patients that because their wishes, their choices, were inconsistent with the “process,” that process must trump choice, because the proces is always correct? Is this the kind of “choice” Lord Howe is promoting? It is what is being done in his name. He is undermining his own agenda! Meaningless choice is not useful. Lord Howe is ignorant of the need for choice that matters. Patients being able to choose their GP, is meaningful choice.