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My plea to NHS England - stop torturing us with illusions of help

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I realise I have visited this subject before, but I don’t care - because the paragraph I am about to highlight a) Deserves highlighting and b) Makes me want to punch someone in the face. It’s an extract from NHS England’s invitation to N.E. Staffordshire practices to get involved with the programme of ‘Ten high impact actions’ designed to free up GP time.

Just sod off and stop torturing us with illusions of help

This is what it says:  ‘This is an excellent opportunity for all practices to benefit from a specially tailored programme designed to support and enable them to make changes, which will improve efficiency, release time and aid future sustainability’. Let me just arrange this word-salad into its key parts: ‘Opportunity/benefit/support/enable/improve/future’. So any tangible outcome is about six steps removed from what’s originally on offer. Which leaves you wondering what the frigging frig this is all about and why you should bother to read any further.

If you do, you’ll discover that those ‘high impact’ ideas include group consultations, matching capacity and demand, personal resilience, touch-typing/speed reading, practice based navigators and, get this, ‘leadership of change, process improvement and rapid cycle management’.

Look chaps, if you really are blind to the irony of pretending to save 10% of GP time by forcing us to wade through this jargon-riddled, patronising, sloganeering, mindless and meaningless bullshit, then I shall enjoy the irony of poking your eyes out.

This is now the norm with NHS communications purporting to help/support general practice. So I have a plea to whoever actually drafts them. If you have real, solid, constructive ideas to convey, then please articulate them, simply and clearly. And if you don’t, then just sod off and stop torturing us with illusions of help. In the interim, the only high impact you’ve induced is the one involving my frontal bones and my desk.

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Readers' comments (12)

  • It has all been said and elequently.
    Many years ago management of companies especially the Japanese sent directors and managers to work on the shop floor to see what really went on and listen to the sharp end workers - will excellent results.
    One story goes about the Manager who did not follow this principle and engaged a management firm to analyse the situation at the sharp end.He accepted the firm's recommendations eagerly with an increase in output etc. He discussed the outcome with his workers with pride and was told"Yer they came round and talked to us and did what we suggested - we had been telling you the same for years. Was your £20,000 really so well spent" Ho Hum!!

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  • Man, that gave me the best laugh I have had in a ling time. You maybe heard me from the other side of the world. I keep an eye on you folk, (I'm in Oz), and it amazes me how similar the situation general practice faces is, right round the world, even taking into account the differences in the actual systems.

    We also have the folk in ivory towers continually coming out did Tony put it..? "jargon-riddled, patronising, sloganeering, mindless and meaningless bullshit"...I love it, can I plagiarise that mercilessly over here Tony...please..?

    Anyway the most frustrating thing of all is these folk keep coming up with these...well, ok, let's grace them with the term, 'ideas', because they cannot/will not, offer the one thing that would actually help. MONEY..! There, I said it. If you pay Drs well enough, and relieve them of the burden of the worry about just keeping the doors open, they will beaver away, driven by their own altruism, (which we all have in spades, and the pollies know how to exploit it suits), and do a fantastic job looking after our patients, because IT'S WHAT WE DO..!

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From: Copperfield

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