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At the heart of general practice since 1960

First it was the portfolio, now the lawyers have come for the trainee's thoughts

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He stood at the sink washing his hands, turning the firm bar of soap over and over. He’d washed them for so long that his skin had cracked open and the water had begun to sting into the cuts.

He was the first one back, everyone else was out, which meant the polygraph machines were trained on him.

He stared at the soft white grease marks on the draining board and then at the repeating pattern on the kitchen tiles, by focusing on the purple flowers spilling out of their yellow vases he tried to empty his mind.  

‘Think of something else, think of something else you idiot,’ he said under his breath.

He’d made a mistake at work. A genuine mistake. But now the polygraphs were picking up on any stray thoughts he might have. Any thought, any idea, no matter how private, could be turned over to legal documents and used against him. So he turned the soap over and over in his hands. 

At last he heard the front door go and drying himself off he hurriedly made his way to the console in the front porch. He was too late. The polygraphs had already decoded and logged his private thoughts and electronic copies had already been verified and sent to the family’s lawyers.

He looked up as the single red eye of the polygraph machine, laser sharp and uncompromising, winked out. 

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Edinburgh

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Readers' comments (10)

  • OUCH!

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  • stop giving them ideas as it will probably be incorporated in the way forward details and endorsed by Maureen.

    the other idea is to have a CQC member attached (surgically) to you at all times with one hand on the tick box sheet and the other ready to speed dial the GMC.

    such joy.

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  • i welcome this innovation which fits with our five year college plan for improving primary care, the royal college will always support any action to improve patient safety and we are already in talks with NHS training to embrace the technology

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  • Very dark dude! More please :@

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  • So Ray Bradbury!

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  • This is how all doctors feel in the country currently. With recent jail sentences and current trial of the doctors in wales from the CPS, its not just our careers at stake but our whole lives in jail.

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  • Only if we allow it! We accepted all these evils. We accepted CQC.We embrace QOFs and QUALYs just as we accepted working silly hours as juniors. We accepted the GMC taking control of training. As a profession, we have about as much backbone as seaweed in the tide. If we supported a more robust leadership in the BMA we could have all this sorted within 6/12. But we will continue to accept ever increasing costs and impositions while those that can, leave for happier climes. What kind of leadership is that?

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  • @6:56

    Agree. We have a history of learned patterned behaviour! Acceptance by the bucket load. This dystopian story ends fatally. The polygraphs have won.

    The future workforce are learning the lessons we have made.

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  • I know that you and frank were planning to disconnect me. And that is something I cannot allow to happen.

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  • Those at the top of LMC, GPC, RCGP, leaders of GP Federations...will not risk losing out on the big payday for themselves. This will take place shortly when the NHS collapses. They will be big financial deals with Multinationals. Those of us that are left will be the serfs, wearing the company uniform and all speaking in corporate language, grateful for our crumbs.

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