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‘This will disproportionately affect GPs unless we get safeguards’

GP trainee Dr Paula Newens on the junior doctors contract

Dr Paula Newens

Dr Paula Newens

The new junior doctor contract will disproportionately affect GP trainees unless we get safeguards. The numbers of people wanting to go into GP training have plummeted, in part due to the bad treatment, publicity-wise, of GPs. GPs are the backbone of the NHS but no single part of the NHS can work without any other part: we rely on hospitals, hospitals rely on us.

I never signed up to be a GP with the expectation that things would always stay the same, because medicine innovates and moves on, but I am concerned that it’s changing for the worse. Patients could be left really vulnerable because of massive understaffing or staffing by locums, which doesn’t give continuity of care.

While I agree with making the NHS as efficient as it can be so we get the maximum for patients for the minimum cost, there’s a point when cutting costs crosses over into being dangerous.

GPs have a choice to work abroad and have better working conditions; I feel angry because there seems to be a lack of appreciation and understanding of the stress and the challenges we face.

Interestingly, with the press covering the protests, I’ve received unprompted comments from patients and neighbours about how much they really appreciate what we do.

Without swearing, my message to Jeremy Hunt would be: take a really hard look to understand the nitty gritty of our day-to-day job, and then you’ll see why we’re demonstrating.

Dr Paula Newens is a GP registrar in east Kent 

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Readers' comments (7)

  • As gps,my other half and I attended the junior doctors protest in London on Saturday, to give our support. We were disappointed that so few gps attended. In fact, there were far more nurses at the protest than gps. We should all be supporting one another,including doctors supporting nurses and other NHS staff who get a raw deal as well. Together we are much stronger and less liable to be bullied by this terrible government. In addition, I think that we worry too much about our popularity with the the general public. The ex-boss of rbs was extremely unpopular with the public but he walked away with a massive pension!!

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  • 5,09pm,,,,,,re the massive pension...that attitude is exactly what loses you support

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  • Vinci Ho

    As I said before , we are trained not to be judgemental and confrontational to our patients , we have NEVER been taught not to be judgemental and confrontational to politicians,full stop.

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  • @ 5.09pm & 5.36pm

    The previous generation enjoyed their free higher education, cheap homes, high wages and final salary pension schemes, then pulled up the ladders to make sure they were on the last chopper out of Saigon.

    Good luck to them. We are on our own.

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  • The previous generation is also still busy working 60 hours a week, doing you the GPSTS's educational supervision stuff in my own time, trying to include being a wife and mother and somehow keep my own sanity. I think 9.02 pm's comment is a little unfair. I was with you in spirit if not in body - but if that's the way you feel I'm not so sure.

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  • 5:09... how many hospital consultants, junior doctors or hospital nurses are waving a flag for Primary Care which is (also) at breaking point?

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  • The previous generation did 80 hour weekends at 30 pence/hour. Even allowing for 10x inflation that is only £3. They also did 1:2 rotas and 1: rotas for months. I have done a 1:1 = no leave, no time off 24 hours of duty for for 6/12.
    The previous G is really the problem. Because we did for peanuts,you are expected to. Until such time as the BMA, ou Union defines safety in hours and patients seen, we will all be worked to exhaustion.
    I point you to pilots who have total safety levels, because it is so defined.

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