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At the heart of general practice since 1960

60 second interview...Dr Simon Lockett

Dr Lockett has been secretary of Norfolk LMC since 1987 and is a GP in Taverham, Norfolk

Dr Lockett has been secretary of Norfolk LMC since 1987 and is a GP in Taverham, Norfolk

In your view, what is an LMC's job?

Representing general practice in the widest sense - trying to ensure that it's the best it can be and that those who work within it help that goal.

Why did you get involved in medical politics?

That's a very good question. In 1987 I'd given up being a clinical assistant working with alcoholics because it was just too depressing. The then secretary decided he had done his 10 years and that was enough. He asked if anyone was interested, I said I was and it all happened from there.

What is it like being secretary?

Norfolk has tended to be easy to represent because of its very high quality GPs. But when times are hard as currently and in 1990, one is very tempted to keep one's head down and do the enjoyable part of the work – seeing patients.

What has the mood been like locally since the breakdown in contract negotiations?

We had an initial discussion at our LMC meeting this week and GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden has also agreed to speak to local GPs. Most GPs are pragmatists and will think carefully about the pros and cons. Norfolk hasn't traditionally been terribly militant, but who knows what will happen this time?

How do you view the Government's offer?

I'm certainly hoping for some improvements in the negotiated position and then I'll make up my mind.

Are GPs paid too much?

Considering that we have one of the most interesting and rewarding jobs in the world and the national average wage for some jolly boring and unpleasant job is £24,000, then yes. On the face of it, you might feel that GPs are overpaid.

Would you ever move into Government politics after retiring?

When the Government announced that people could be nominated into the House of Lords rather than born into it, I sent off for the application papers but they looked far too complicated. And I suspect local government is dreadfully frustrating and national government would involve living somewhere far less pleasant than Norfolk.

Do you manage to fit in a family life?

I have reduced my GP sessions to five a week. Family and self have taken third and forth places to the practice and the LMC for long enough, so if I reduce either it will be to spend some time with my family while they still want me.

How do you wind down after a hard day's work?

Sadly, my typical practice day would end at 8pm. I've just got so slow in my old age that trying to put everything into the computer that ought to be there just takes yonks. So, by the time I get back, it's eating and crashing out and trying to leave the whiskey bottle with its top on rather than off.

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