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A faulty production line

A GP's letter to Father Christmas

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Dear Santa…

I don’t know if you’ve ever had to consult a GP, but you may be aware that general practice is in a bit of a shocking state and I would really like your help.

I realise I am a tad older than your usual customers, but I hope you don’t mind me making up for lost time from childhood. I was raised in a household where you were not welcome, but I am now a grown-up GP, and you and the reindeer are welcome at my home.

I know you are busy so I’ve kept my wish-list for 2015 as short as possible – but it is in order of priority and, frankly, if you grant the first one then I might not even need the rest.

The most important gift for GPs would be a dedicated union. Yes, we have the LMCs and the GPC but they don’t like the word ‘union’; I think they feel it’s too uncouth. But if we could control the changes in our contract, retain our independent status, be guaranteed the pensions we signed up to and generally develop a backbone, I would gladly be uncouth.

My next wish would be that you stop the RCGP brown-nosing the Government and being complicit in the march towards federations, seven-day working and a salaried workforce. And while you’re at it, bring some of them down from their ivory towers of ‘quality’ and ‘standards’ and show them perfect RCGP-style consultations don’t work in deprived, inner-city practices like mine.

And please, please, please, Santa, stop all the micro-managing of my job. Which other highly skilled professionals are bossed about as we are? Why do I have to accumulate my pay from five or six different pots of money instead of being trusted to do the job I was trained for?

Next, could you remind the Government and the public that we are not McDonald’s or Tesco; we do not provide a 24/7 or 12/7 service for routine care.

On the subject of governments, could we have a change next year? At the moment, any alternative seems better than this.

If you possess any hypnotic skills, please use them to make least 50% of medical students choose general practice? If not, then please grant my first wish as that may help.

Santa, I know you are a man of peace but could you ‘accidentally’ drop a sizeable amount of explosive from your sleigh as you fly over the Daily Mail offices. At night, of course, so no one is hurt. This would also help with the previous request.

The top-down reorganisation of the NHS we were promised would not happen has put so many people in pointless jobs. Could you take anyone with ‘improvement manager’ in their job title back to the North Pole with you?

For once in my life, Santa, let me answer a patient complaint as my heart tells me to, instead of trotting out the standard nauseating, apologetic drivel no matter how irrational the complaint.

Finally – and I know this is the hardest one – please resurrect Sergeant Brody, as Homeland is not the same without the lovely Damian Lewis.

Yours, Dr Nabi.

Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol. 




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Readers' comments (14)

  • Vinci Ho

    Yes. Homeland desperately needs a male lead role rather than going on storyline like Carrie Mathison stealing the virginity of a boy!

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    Well done Shaba! Nice read.

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  • says it all really

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  • Shaba too late too fantasy and I smile but the band plays on as the titanic sinks and the owner just jumps ship leaving the hardy behind
    Alas the dark coat of death is striking away and no matter how you wish for Santa you know I know he does not exist
    God will not come and help either it's us just us and since we have no cohesion we have no option
    We are destroyed and I see no Phoenix in the flames and ashes I just do not

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  • andrew Field

    Well said Shaba.
    A robust Union would be great as would union of in an organisation of workers coming together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, achieving better pay and working conditions, safety standards and sufficient employees to perform the trade. What a fantasy! The "constituency" doesn't want this and so our leaders never need to move towards truly flexing any muscle. In all honesty, how many of us would break the terms of the contract in an industrial dispute? Even for, say, 2 hours? Our pay is shrunk, our pension pot raided, our work force depleted, our name besmirched. Forget the RCGP - why do they even bother getting politically involved? The GPC is the organisation of resolve and we should empower our leaders therein to be bold and strong by lobbying LMC's and being active locally and nationally and letting them know how much we care and how united we can be.

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  • Una Coales. Retired NHS GP.

    @Andrew LMCs are all talk and no leverage and the same may be said of the GPC who may have COIs as some may sit on gold plated pensions.

    Attended a gathering of mothers and a salaried GP mother shared of how a practice is struggling to replace the partner who has left...only one applicant, a newly qualified trainee and another partner wants to leave too. The salaried GP is retiring in March. 2015 will see droves of GPs leaving medicine.

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  • Spot on as usual Shaba. I was missing your posts. I agree with everything you say, but take exception to only one of your wishes. I DO NOT want at least 50% of medical students applying for VTS. No Sirree. Unless there is a desperate shortage of GPs their work will not be valued.If you think we are suffering, why do you want to inflict the same pain on those coming after you?:>) As someone already pointed out, the good ship NHS Titanic is sinking and the string quartet is all thats left. The cairs dont even need to be moved around by those left behind , as the tilting and moving deck is doing that, thus giving an illusion of the required staff being around to man the coalface. Santy says to tell you that due to other pressing and important commitments, your wishes will not be granted this year and you lot just need to be ` pro-active` ` inventive` ` robust` ` forward and blue-sky thinking` etc and carry on the good work. Please write about the recent CSAam fee fiasco by the RCGP and also do make a comment about todays comment by our good friend Mr Merion Thoimas , who states that the GPs ARE THE PROBLEM for the NHS !! In case you dont remember him, he is the fellow who claimed last year that femaloe doctors in Primary care were the problem for the system . He seems to know everything . :>)

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  • Damn! spelling mistakes. Now everyone will know that I am an incompetent IMG , lacking in communication and clinical skills, but thousands of similar ones like me may soon be imported in , with relaxed PLAB exams , to warm the empty seats. The name of the game is ` Put bums on seats` . lol. Desperation is always the mother of inventions.

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  • Yep a dedicated union is a great idea .Who's up for it?

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  • It is time the government stopped promising patients that all their dreams would come true and every wish would be granted without having the resources to meet that need.

    It is time the pen pushers in NHSE worked as hard as my GP does trying to care for patients at the same time as ticking boxes for these plebs. My GP does not go home early at christmas like the NHSE staff, or start at 9 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. like the NHSE staff, but what do they care!

    My GP has now had enough and decided not to work for the NHS any more, so they have lost one of the very best through their own greed.

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