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How to get medico-politics wrong

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I realise that politics in general, and medico-politics in particular, is a tough job. And I do accept that it’s certainly tougher than what I do, which is sniping from the side-lines (or, as my appraiser once put it, ‘ranting like a madman on a street corner’).

All the sense of direction of a decapitated chicken

But. But but but. I now am no longer sure where we are, exactly. And if I was, I wouldn’t be sure exactly how we got here. So I’ve checked the sequence of events, starting with our call to arms at the beginning of the year and culminating, at the end, with us vaguely waving a survey at Jeremy Hunt and running in the opposite direction.This is what happened:

January 2016: at a Special LMC Conference, it is agreed that the GPC should ballot GPs on their willingness to kick some governmental ass in the form of undated resignations, unless we are rescued from our shitty jobs within six months.

April 2016: the Government responds with its ‘GP Forward View’ comprising a lot of talk but very little walk.

May 2016: the LMCs conference decides the GP Forward View is utter bollocks (my words)/ an inadequate governmental response (theirs) and gives Hunt et al three months to accept the Urgent Prescription’s glorious wish-list – including a cap on appointments, long consultation times and a new care home DES. Or else that aforementioned ballot will really, really happen, yes it will.

August 2016: the definitely-going-to-happen ballot is called off because, er, it’s all a bit complex and legal - and the GPC has received concessions on workload along the lines that the Government has read the Urgent Prescription thing and it’s ‘a good basis for further discussion’. Instead, we’re going to get a survey.

November 2016: the survey results show that we’re all working ever so hard and might be helped by more nurses, more mental health workers, and patients generally getting out of our faces.

All of which means that, in the space of a year, we’ve gone from radical policies with clear timelines and the threat of pyrotechnic militancy, to a woolly, survey-based agenda and all the sense of direction of a decapitated chicken. Maybe there is a plan. I just can’t see one among the debris of shattered dreams. If there is, someone please tell us what it is. Otherwise we’re forced into the view that, as I say, medico-politics is a hard job. But it must be even harder to get it this wrong.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield

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Readers' comments (10)

  • Brill as always DC.

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  • The Juniors always looked far better organised, motivated and capable of getting their message across. Having seen them crash and burn I think GPC have lost what little bottle they had mustered.

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  • The junior doctors loss and standing down has made it impossible for the rest of us. Bend over and take what is coming to you.

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  • But we are still resigning, as our GPC leaders have said, you don't have to threaten resignations if practices are already folding.

    So it's to be a DIY policy of resignation. Every practice should now plan for their own exit strategy, don't be expecting any white knights coming to the rescue. CCGs will continue a policy of lists dispersals until we can cope no more and have all gone.

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  • Yup. The cavalry ain't coming. Save yourself and get out. All doctors are brimming with talents that they can redirect productively elsewhere.

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  • It seems the GPC have surrendered before firing a single decent shot..
    What a bunch of inept twits !
    The AMA employ professionalyl trained negotiators ( with teeth) when dealing with government.

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  • The resignations are happening anyway- just one by burned out one. And the resignation rate would be a much more interesting statistic.

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  • Sitting by the beach in Thailand spending my abated but still very generous GP pension ( I retired and took the pension at 54) I can't for the life if me understand why any GP above 55 is still getting up for work . Is it Greed ? Is it a young wife who loves designer clothes and going to the nail parlour why you suffer all day at work ?
    I was divorced sharing my pension 40/60 and other assets 60/40 ,put 4 kids through Uni and still was close to exceeding the new lifetime allowance and actually exceeded the new Annual allowance paying even more tax in the process .I realised there was more to life than being a GP but unlike most of the population we have a choice and can easily get by on our pension .

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  • Someone from GPC please respond!

    Or failing that, some hand-wringing from an RCGP cardigan would be amusing.

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  • Othimalai Velusami

    Any of medics comments and columns made any difference to the pats and their clinicians? No just filling the journal pages and as past time reading

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From: Copperfield

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