This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Remember why you signed up to study medicine

Dr David Turner

dr david turner duo small


Today I did a home visit.

‘So what?’ I hear you cry. Well, this visit was not requested by the patient, a demanding family member, nor by an over-anxious carer. Neither had I initiated the visit to tick a load of outstanding QOF boxes. No, I did this home visit just to see how a very elderly patient of ours, who we have not seen for a long time, was getting on. Without wishing to make you want to vomit, I can honestly say it was one of the most satisfying things I have done for weeks.

Having just had a CQC inspection, the previous month has seen our practice team stressed and exhausted, spending every minute of time we have not been seeing patients wading through a fetid quagmire of protocols and guidelines, and enduring every imaginable bureaucratic instrument of torture inspectors can think up to torment us with. I don’t need to tell you this though - preparing for CQC is a truly miserable experience, up there with unanaethetised root canal surgery as a life experience.

Sometimes we need to find a small islet of green grass, stand quietly, breathe deeply and remember why we wanted to do this

Nobody signed up to do medicine to spend what will amount to several working days writing protocols to justify the direction in which female octagenarians should blow through egg shells, or undertake online learning modules to prove you know how to undertake the most arse-wipingly simple tasks. Speaking for myself, I chose medicine because I was interested in understanding how the body worked, how it went wrong, how to fix it and how to be able to do something useful with these skills at the end. I suspect most other doctors did the same.

The tsumani of mind-destroyingly tedious paperwork the Government is throwing at us is never going away. In fact, it is going to worsen, as their aim is to break our spirit and as we slowly drop one by one, continue to encourage the private-sector cancer to metastasise, and take over and run our surgeries like franchises of a burger chain.

Sometimes we need to climb out of the quagmire and find a small islet of green grass, stand quietly, breathe deeply and remember why we wanted to do this.

You never know, you might get a smile and thank you from a patient to make it all seem worthwhile.

Dr David Turner is a GP in North West London

Rate this article  (4.68 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (7)

  • Bang on the mark David. Nobody will miss it till its gone.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well said.
    However the medical profession will sink ‘holding the can’ for succumbing to unevidence based government nonsense.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Spot on and refreshing. It is all about controlling doctors and de-professionalizing them. Even a plumber can choose the brand of screwdriver he uses but we are not allowed to choose the brand of medicine. Sadly some of the doctors have forgotten this and have become administrators making rules to make clinical medicine both risky and impossible.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I still get small moments of joy at work. It is almost never from just doing the medical stuff right. It is almost always from knowing I have connected with someone, heard their distress and responded with human kindness. The acknowledgement of a small squeeze of the hand or a wry smile can be the best payment I get all day.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Remember why you signed up to study medicine?
    Yes I do what I did not was the realisation that I was meant to be a "saint" working amongst "sinners" - managers, regulators, media, politicians, CQC,.......

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nostradamus horoscopes | Hospital Doctor30 May 2019 7:24pm
    Maybe your just the carpet-broom
    Left by the careless slavey.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Sadly all that your speak of was created by our own colleagues. To frightened to see patients but happy to make or hell for others.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say