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At the heart of general practice since 1960

How stupid do you think I look?

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May 2016: the LMC’s Conference gives NHS England three months to accept the ‘Urgent Prescription for General Practice’ or face a ballot on mass resignation or other industrial action.

August 2016: the ballot is called off because, to quote the headline of the email from the BMA, ‘GPC’s Urgent Prescription accepted by NHS England.’

How could this crystal clear conference mandate get mangled into nothingness?

Wowzers. I haven’t ripped open an email with such throbbing anticipation since a rich Nigerian prince craved my most excellent and immediate indulgence. But would you believe it? Both turned out to be a scam.

‘Accepted by NHS England’? Accepted as in agreeing that, to quote the director of NHS commissioning, it’s ‘..a good basis for further discussion…noting that some of the proposals need greater detail.’ So, accepted as in the typical politico bland-speak of arm’s length grudging acknowledgement. Accepted as in, yeah, OK, at some point we might begin to consider that we might start thinking about kicking that can of an idea down the road until it’s diluted into nothingness or forgotten about entirely. Accepted as in absolutely not accepted.

And just to rub it in, the BMA has shifted position from a ballot of members to yet another sodding survey. That should strike fear in Jeremy Hunt’s soul.

Look, I know a mass ‘strike’ was never going to happen. And that any type of industrial action is going to be fraught with difficulties – although if the GPC is bereft of ideas, Pulse has come up with some crackers.

Seriously, though, how could this crystal clear conference mandate get mangled into nothingness? It reeks of relief at the GPC being backed into a corner and finding an unexpected escape hatch. But believe me, it won’t wash in the frontline.

We’ve gone from lobbing Molotov cocktails at the Government to sipping Pina Coladas with them. Either way, it’s not a tonic for the troops.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex

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Readers' comments (8)

  • Amen Tone. Nothing like a good bit of inaction to shake things up, eh? Nothing will change and those of us who long it to need to stop hoping, bash on through the ten extras, go home and put our feet up. You can't reason with the unreasonable.

    Repeat x 2000, then retire and give two fingers rampant.

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  • I note the BMA comment - actual resignations are as powerful as threatened ones - So there you are, for struggling practice's with nowhere to go but resignation, the BMA won't help you, you are just being used as cannon fodder , good luck to you

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  • Why do these people stand? They are not fit to represent us-
    We are a weakened, really struggling work force - and no one speaks up on our behalf- it's a joke!
    they're pathetic- can you stand please copperfield - you speak for us so well and are a lone voice of reason and sanity in this nightmare! !!!!

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  • In general practice increasingly only those who are prepared to bend over and asume the position remain, anyone with any self respect has left or is planning to. There aren't enough folk with the guts required to take industrial action. A profession of poodles...just what Jerremy Hunt wanted. We deserve to get shafted. Limp

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  • Of course we are stupid. No doubt about that.
    No self respecting profession would accept a 50% increase in workload and a 30% reduction in wages.
    No wonder the world and it's aunt think we GPs are champ. And the truth is, we are.

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  • Copperfield stand?I hope he is already saddling his charger to be the White Knight who leaps the Pond to smite The Donald and duff up The Hilary and lead Civilisation to the Sunlit Uplands.......or maybe he also has ten extras to see first.

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  • Dear people, we hear your pain. here in Oz, we are also under a similar 'pump', with another 4 years of complete inflation indexing freeze imposed, on top of 2 we have just been through, and like you at a time of increasing demands from chronic disease management.

    Now, they also want to foist some form of re-validation on us. Having heard how well that has worked for you, you can imagine the feelings here. And, like you also, we find our medical representative bodies apparently toothless when it comes to influencing Govt to listen to us.

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  • Why don't you stand?

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder