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The party's over but we did have it good

Sorry to buck the moaning trend, but I'm getting sick of the chest-beating of my GP colleagues over the extended hours dispute.

The truth is that the GPC negotiated an unbelievably fantastic deal a few years ago that delivered to most of us the seemingly impossible - more money for shorter working hours.

Naturally, once the Government realised to its horror what had happened, it began to row back on all of our gains (pensions, enhanced services, the QOF, out-of-hours).

Did any of us really think the good times would last? The QOF and enhanced services are perceived by everybody except GPs as bonus pay, to be taken away at the Government's whim, while our basic pay has fallen in real terms as a result of pay freezes.

Once the Department of Health has stripped these to the bone and crowbarred us into working out-of-hours again, we'll be left roughly where we started, and I'm afraid those of you with monster mortgages should have seen that coming.

It's time to batten down the hatches and brace ourselves for several years of real hardship, just like the 90s.

But don't worry - once the polyclinics begin to unravel and the Government realises it can't get quality primary care on the cheap, it'll start to listen to us again. It's the natural cycle of GP life. We've had a great few years, but now the party's over.

Name supplied, St Helens, Merseyside

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