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A faulty production line

'The GPs who don't even know your name'? These patients would beg to differ...

As the row over A&E attendances and GP out-of-hours care rumbles on, the Daily Mail weighed in with a classic GP-bashing front page this morning, under the somewhat emotive banner headline ‘The GPs who don’t even know your name’.

The article, based on a leak of the speech health secretary Jeremy Hunt is due to make on Thursday, predictably stirred up a lot of GP anger. But when Pulse editor Steve Nowottny took to Twitter and jokingly suggested users tweet in support of their GP with the hashtag #myGPknowsmyname, it quickly became apparent many patients were up in arms too.

Although it was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion, Twitter has responded (as Twitter often does) enthusiastically, with dozens of patients, GPs and other NHS staff taking to their keyboards in defence of the profession.

Here are a few of the best:





What’s your experience of your GP? Tell us in the comment section below or on Twitter with the hashtag #myGPknowsmyname.

Readers' comments (24)

  • Anonymous 8.09am - as I wrote, I could not say whether the partners did what they did for financial reasons or not, but I do know that the practice is not failing due to financial pressure, that I can be sure of. The surgery is taking on more patients and is the only surgery in the area open to new patients. It also happens to be the largest surgery in the area with at least three times as many patients as the other surgery that serves our area which is not taking on new patients. I don't think there's a lot of transparency.

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  • Anne B..well done you for sticking out their nonsense for so long....most become so cynical about the run around and tokenism they say stuff it and move many of your original group are still involved?

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  • Anonymous 5.56pm - There were four patients on the Patient Participation Group and there are still three of us - the one who left was a retired GP who got thoroughly disenchanted with what was happening which was very sad to see.

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  • As a new salaried GP in a practice, I have every intention of getting to know my patients (including their names!) , but with over 8000 people registered there, and the realistic possibility that I could be seeing up to 200 of them per week at 10-minute intervals, it's very likely that it could take me some time!

    Please, Anne Bedish, there are some if us who share the same values as you, and who strive to deliver high-quality, personal care to their patients; but it is vital that patients such as yourself give young doctors such as myself a chance. We all have to start somewhere, and if GP-bashing media, government and patients don't have their way and replace us all with faceless conglomerates, in 20 years time, when we've learnt all your names and know your life-stories, it'll be us you won't want to let go of !

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  • Anonymous 7.37pm - then please stay at your practice ! And encourage your colleagues to stay ! The problem is when there is a rapid turnover of salaried GPs, such as has been at our surgery, that it is impossible for them to get to know the patients. Two of the earliest ones who were very good left to become partners at other practices - they might have stayed had they been offered partnerships at our practice. One of them spoke to me before he left and said he wanted to have more say in how the practice was run but he couldn't as a salaried doctor, and since the practice were not taking on partners he left.

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  • 20 years ago I saw patients for about 6 hours a day in surgery, 1-2 hours of home visits, 1-2 hours of paperwork and got home for lunch and out in the evening. Some evening and weekend work. On call 1 in 3 but rarely called out. I worked about 50 hours a week but had to be available for nearer 80.

    By 2003 I was working 8 am to 11pm, doing one evening a fortnight, and I gave up out of hours because I couldn't cope.

    Now I work 8am [or before] to midnight most days. I work flat out 4 days a week,and do paperwork on the other 3 days a week for at least 6 hours average each day. I see patients for about 18 - 20 hours in that time - and phone them for another 8 or 12?? The rest is paperwork, ensuring we comply with standards, having meetings, and ticking boxes to ensure we get paid enough to continue to have reception staff and locums to service rising patient demands.

    Folk honestly now expect to see a doctor as soon as they get a pain and before they take a paracetamol!

    I Spend 2/3 of my time doing admin. I work 80+ hours a week and get ratty. This is not the job I became a GP to do. I have not switched off my mobile phone except in an aircraft or the theatre [turning it on briefly in the interval to check] since I first got one. I try to take responsibility for sorting things out for my patients. But i've lost the will to live.
    i've gone part time, and I'm almost certainly going if this latest lot of rubbish comes about. Me - and at least 20% of my colleagues who otherwise would not have retired for another 5 or 10 years - will be gone in the next 2 years .

    and may god have mercy on the patients.

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  • The last few governments and their politicians have blindly(or been advised by ex gps who cannot stomach the front line) to impose contracts on us,constantly changing them due to their failures despite us trying to keep on top. Why should we be blamed for the failure of their plans.
    It is Wednesday evening and I have already worked 36 hours' this week,I have done four joint injections two minor surgery ops,done 5 surgeries with booked 10 minute appointments and 1 with urgent 5minute appointments,not to mention telephone calls,letters,it,repeat prescriptions,checking mail and X-rays and laboratory tests and taking a medical student on Tuesday morning.
    After 29 years I still enjoy the job and do know most of my regular patients and their families and many of the names of my partners patients also.
    I strongly believe in the NHS and have committed 35 years of my life to provide a good service which drains at times. When I finally retire I certainly won't miss the whingeing and whining politicians and journalists in this decaying country of Britain(once Great)and milked and laughed at by the 1st,2nd and 3rd world.

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  • anne beddish.the problem at your surgery is exceptional.we are a mordern well equipped teaching practice,but still we are having problems recruiting two partners for the last 18 months.i think lots of new gp's do locums out of choice.any takers can e mail me

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  • Anne Bedish, while I respect your comments, just because you sit on the PPG doesn't mean you have a say in how the practice should recruit its medical workforce. The partners probably have a large financial stake in the practice and need to consider all the pros and cons of taking on partners vs salaried. In fact it is often more expensive to take on a salaried than a partner. There are of course people who wouldn't take a partnership no matter what the circumstances, me included, you only have to look in the BMJ jobs section to see how may vacant partnerships there are currently. The way general practice practice is going in this country, things will only get worse and in the future you'll be lucky to have a free GP service.

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  • Anonymous 2.05 - I don't think you have understood what I was saying at all. I certainly would not dream of having a say in how our practice should recruit its medical workforce. However, at the PPG the partnered doctors explained to us what they were doing re the recruitment of salaried doctors and they told us how they felt this would improve continuity of care for patients as opposed to taking on partners instead. As a consequence of this policy, continuity of care has got worse, and, as I explained, there has been a huge turnover in salaried doctors and so the doctors don't know the patients' names and the patients don't know the doctors.

    The purpose of writing in this thread was that the editor had asked "What’s your experience of your GP? Tell us in the comment section below...." So I did ! I doubt there are many 'patients' who read Pulse which is why no other patient has joined this thread.

    As to being lucky to get a free GP service - I was not aware that our GP service was free. We pay taxes and the cost of our GP service is paid out of our taxes. I, for one, would be more than happy to pay the GP a nominal sum as we do when we see an NHS dentist - that way a symbolic contract is set up between doctor and patient at the start of a consultation saying, in effect, to the doctor "I am paying you so you must therefore treat me to the best of your ability". I think it would be very difficult to get this kind of system set up in the UK, but there's no problem with it in France where patients pay something like €20 to see their GP.

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