Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dramatic times

Editor Sue McNulty reflects on the drama of PBC

Editor Sue McNulty reflects on the drama of PBC

Film director Mike Leigh is making a film near where I live.

One of my young daughter's friends asked him the other day ‘what's your film about?' and his reply was ‘it's just about an ordinary family'.

But I know when I come out of the cinema I will have laughed and cried about his 'ordinary family', and been on a emotional rollercoaster Leigh-style.

Behind 'ordinary' PBC groups there can be a lot of relationship stuff going on.

All might seem pretty ‘normal' and they might have successful outcomes to quote but you often get to hear hear how a PBC soap has been played out to get to such a successful point, over months if not years.


As one GP told me, he became so frustrated when his PCT were still umming and ahhing about a proposed service redesign he just spurted out ‘what the four x else do you want?!' Drama indeed. His service did get approved after that outburst though - and has got good outcomes now.

As the cash-strapped times creep up on us the drama of PBC is likely to intensify.

NAPC president, Dr James Kingsland's back of the envelope calculation is that the NHS needs to save £15 million a day – from yesterday. Gulp.

Having had a little time to digest this figure though, I'm thinking it's not how much needs to be saved, but rather how much the NHS spends in the first place – some £103 billion a year. That's a lot of cash. Where does it all go?

The challenge ahead is a big one but it is also an opportunity for PBC to show what it can do.

As they say in the family soap EastEnders when a crisis unfolds – put the kettle on followed by a family summit being called about what to do. No swearing before the watershed though please.

Sue McNulty Sue McNulty

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say