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A faulty production line

I'm adding to my workload - it's the only hope of reducing it

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I’ve been very tired recently. Maybe I’m anaemic. If so, I can say for sure it’s not the result of irony deficiency.

Because in just the last few days I’ve been on the receiving end of both NHS England’s audit of unnecessary appointments and survey on reducing bureaucracy, and the BMA’s novella ‘Quality First: managing workload to deliver safe patient care’.

I’ve put them on a pile of other stuff. You know, that pile of ‘things to do’ that can be seen from space. I’ll get round to them when I’ve got through all the other more pressing ‘things to do’ - when I’m dead, probably.

In other words, as all the rest of you are doubtless also silently screaming, we’re just too busy to record how busy we are, or to read how we might de-busy ourselves. Hilarious, innit?

Nevertheless, I have managed to (speed) read the BMA’s booklet and, in fairness, a scan of the top-lines suggests it’s a pretty good crack at achieving the impossible - defining the many and varied forms of daily torture we endure, and suggesting ways we might catch breath between patients/paperwork. Plus it even manages to be quite practical, with its cut-out-and-keep piss-off-and-leave-us-alone suggested letter pro formas in the appendix.

And if all else fails, weighing in at 42 pages, we can always chuck it at the punters.

I’ve also had a crack at the NHS England reducing bureaucracy survey - which I did in a hurry, in an attempt to reduce bureaucracy. Only problem is, having totted up all the hours I spend wading through treacle, turns out I appear to be working a 500-hour week.

This rather begs the question of how accurate the survey will turn out to be. But it does explain why I’m knackered.

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

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Thanks Tony for another amusing article. May I shed some enlightenment on the predicament shared by NHS GPs?

    The problem you are all having is that you are relying on bulk clients from the state/NHS who are not even copaying. The state government employer has cleverly masterminded a situation in which even though you are called independent contractor, you are actually a state employee with none of the benefits of employment protection.

    The only way to be in control of your workload is by having self paying clients, you know as in retail, if you want to be a millionaire. The only subspecialty of medicine that has self paying clients are cosmetic procedures and ops. In fact one portfolio GP makes £1000s per week doing vaser liposuction one day a week and the rest charging £120/h as a NHS locum (has great negotiating skills).

    What surprises me is that highly intelligent human beings enter medicine and yet they cannot or rather choose not to see the obvious. If I were the state, I would rub my hands with glee at the bargain I was getting by making GPs work so hard for a tuppance and they cannot get out of a unilateral variation contract, especially with a trade union tied up in legal knots.

    So if you want to be both super intelligent and rich, free yourself from modern day slavery in public medicine and either branch out into retail (my teen's school is actually teaching students how to start up enterprises in retail and she is making profits in the £1000s) or add some self paying clients.

    Look up Dr Pamela Wible who is working fewer hours and making more money as a proper independent contractor, ie self employed for herself.

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  • Perhaps those who choose not to see the obvious are more interested in looking after people's health, rather than just wanting to make money on cosmetic procedures?

    Lucky for those who do want to charge so much privately really, otherwise the market place would be flooded.

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From: Copperfield

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