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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Would you study medicine again?

Has the continual political interference in the profession made us re-think our career choices, asks Dr Richard Cook

From Dr Richard Cook, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex

I recently attended our medical school’s 25-year reunion. Kenneth Clarke was health secretary when I qualified in 1989 and I have watched 11 of his successors come and go since then.

There was a good mix of specialties represented by attendees - who travelled from up and down the country - with around half of us being GPs or primary care doctors. On the dinner menu was smoked salmon, beef and sticky toffee pudding, which made a nice change from spending cuts, admission avoidance and political posturing.

One of the things that stuck out during conversation was the wide variation in views among colleagues as to whether they would study medicine given their time again, or recommend it as a career to their children or friends (surely the real ‘friends and family test’ for the NHS).

But the underlying sentiment among those present was that the few who had reduced their clinical commitment had done so not because of a loss of interest in patients, but because they felt disillusioned. It seems that we cannot escape political interference and we must brace ourselves for the next great redevelopment of the system.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • It is no longer worthwhile being a doctor

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  • Yes I would do the same again.

    No job is perfect.

    Whenever the thought that "I should have trained as a lawyer / accountant " [or whatever] comes into my head, I just remind myself of the number of stressed lawyers, accountants, etc, that I have met in the consulting room.

    If any job was entirely pleasurable, they wouldn't have to pay people to do it.

    At the very least, GP gives an opportunity to perform work of real value... sometimes!

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  • John Glasspool

    Yes, but I would have emigrated in about 1987.

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  • If we study medicine ,we should do to move out off UK,We are not appreciated here ut penalised on spurious grounds ,our careers destroyed for trying to help the British public

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  • Ofcourse,especially General Practice.Where else can i earn £105,000/yr handholding and signing sick notes.Anything more complicated send it off to the hospital.

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  • I would do medicine again, but I would expect the BMA, my Union here to look after me better. I have done over 700 weekends of 80 hours with 2-3 hours sleep at times. On a 1:2 rota, where the other SHO did not appear at all, I was on for 6 months day and night.
    Medicine is wonderful. Our Union is not. GP is a wonderful profession, but the Contract is daft and leading to 11-13 hour days and burnout.
    The problem is our Union. If we had a sensible one that cared about doctor safety and hence patient safety. If they do not step up soon GP land has almost reached tipping point and may just disappear.
    Rated No. 1 in the world by the Commonwealth Fund in July 2014. Shame, our GPC is so weak that we are walking away from an impossible Contract

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