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GPs decamp to Athens, claim 'anywhere is better than the UK'

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Outside a small café in Athens a group of GPs huddle together and toast the future. A new breed, they’ve made the decision to forge a new life in Greece, convinced that anywhere on the planet is better than staying in the UK.

‘We came over here a couple of months ago,’ says Margaret, a furtive GP in her mid-40s.

‘I was a partner for 15 years before I saw the light. There’s plenty of work out here and the property is dirt cheap, because a lot of it was set on fire.’

Margaret found it easy to settle into the Greek way of life.

‘I watched Clash Of The Titans a couple of times, bought a Demis Roussos CD and said my goodbyes.

‘In the few short months I’ve been out here I’ve seen more and more disillusioned GPs coming over.

‘They’re attracted by the prospect of getting to retire whilst they’re still alive, drinking Ouzo in the sun and best of all getting to escape the mindless drudgery of British society, which has slammed a barbed wire tower block into the crotch of common sense.’

When asked about the looming economic crisis and the political uncertainties in Greece, Margaret just shrugged: ‘What crisis?

‘It doesn’t cost anything to walk around the shaded parks holding your lovers hand and it doesn’t cost anything to admire your smooth skin as it’s cooled by the Athenian breeze, besides we’ll just print off some more Drachma when the time’s right. Another Ouzo?’

‘At the end of the day,’ adds another GP, who over-heard the conversation, ‘the whole experience of living and working in the UK was torturous.

‘Being a doctor was a bit like being forced to slowly squeeze one of my testicles through the roughened window of a doll’s house whilst someone else tipped a watering can over my head.’

When all said and done it seems that for many GPs, including the small group we met up with here in Athens, the smell of revolution and burning tyres will always be better than the smell of burning dreams.

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.

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Readers' comments (17)

  • Poignant, things have got so bad, we must try and cheer ourselves up with dark humour...

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  • ' the smell of revolution and burning tyres will always be better than the smell of burning dreams.'
    This is the quote of the year.Spot on!

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  • This article is rubbish. Humour is needed in the current GP crisis, but I don't think it right to compare well paid professionals who have some control whether to change career, go part time etc, with what is happening in Greece.

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  • What is happening to Greek people and their health care is a modern day Greek tragedy- increasing child poverty, increasing suicide and depression, hunger, little access to health care. To trivialise this is shameful. Instead support Medical Aid for Greece.

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  • This is thanks to injustices GMC FTPP in collaboration with NHS have done to their dedicated hard working GPs.
    BMA and Medical defence bodies have been utterly useless in saving our Medical workforce
    To exert cost saving techniques NHS have imposed cost effective draining actions as seen in Paper by Diabetologia and articles and speeches by Endocrinologists and Prof Tony Barnet
    NHS through their PCTs have imposed unworkable practices ,and imposed non evidence based medicine on their GPs.
    There a limit to insults General Practitioners can take.
    Patient consideration should over rule false cost saving instructions by PCT.
    They tend to reverse cost and morbidity saving in short term and long term bankrupting our beloved country

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  • GP's bought into the Thatcherite/Blairite greed is good and it's come back to bite them. Maybe too late to discover radical politics after 20 years shopping at Wiatrose

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  • 'Better than the smell of burning dreams' is a wonderful line (is it original?) - suspect Dr KH is fully aware of the present 'Greek tragedy' and is not belittling it!

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  • could you cope if you're life suddenly went black and you became blind in Greece

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  • It is so exaggerated , I think we are well paid, well respected, have lots of power. I never regretted to be a GP in uk

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  • Some people just don't appear to 'get' satire!

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