This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

CAMHS won't see you now

What do we want? I haven't a clue


I know it’s never going to happen, but just indulge me by imagining a huge crowd of militant GPs taking to the streets armed with banners, megaphones and sloganeering T-shirts. You’d anticipate, then, the start-up of the traditional protestor chant, specifically, ‘What do we want?’

Tricky. ‘When do we want it?’ is easier: now, obviously. What do we want, though? Good question. According to the BMA, what we want is, ‘To put pressure upon the Government to deliver the resources necessary to secure the future of general practice and to enable it to provide safe patient care’. But, as a protest chant, that scans terribly.

And that, perhaps, is the real problem with the BMA’s latest ploy. You know, the one about taking a ballot to decide whether they should consider taking steps towards another ballot with a view to collectively closing patient lists.

Yes, its multi-layered caveats render it as threatening as the Andrex puppy. Yes, it’s over a year too late. And yes, even if you could galvanise GPs into collective action, all you’ll generate is some publicity which could go either way.

But overriding all that is the feeling that, if the threat is vague, the aim is even vaguer. The best we could get is Forward View 2.0 comprising more nebulous, arms-length promises. Whereas what we actually want is for the job to be less shit.

True, the sources of that shit are so many and varied that it’s hard to know exactly where to apply the shovel. But it certainly isn’t just about resources. It’s about taking work away, as I’ve blogged ad nauseam. And, importantly, taking work away could involve very specific, achievable and impactful targets, and I don’t need to remind you what those might be (oh, all right, appointment caps and contracting out residential home cover, for starters).

So, what do we want? Clear aims. Then we might understand what a ballot on a ballot on a possibility might actually achieve.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex


Related images

  • copperfield duo 1500x1000px

Rate this article  (4.76 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 (6)

  • My sentiments entirely

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Cobblers

    Aim higher Tony.

    Clear easy aims. Trouble is HMG ain't listening. They need encouragement.

    Closing lists would be a start. All GPs maybe just within one area (?Essex?) would take a 2-3 week holiday at the same time.

    That would concentrate minds. And provided most joined, NHSE would be impotent.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well said - wish the BMa and college would take notice

    There are so many things being chucked around that it would be impossible for the government to make things easier

    We should pick 2 (maximum 3) things that we want sorting

    1) indemnity
    2) home visit help? For urgent visits after 12?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Pay rise would be nice (1st since 2003)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well said. That's it in a nutshell - all we want is "the job to be less shit"...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 1) indemnity paid by HMGov

    job has become too risky, we cant afford to pay exponential costs of that risk from personal income. Simples

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say