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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dr Lara Douglass: GPs are great too, right Ms May?

Dear Prime Minister…

Congratulations on running the government. Politicians are great. They are really fantastic. That’s why it is politicians first, politicians first.

But can I just tell you that GPs are great too? We work really hard. We see patients every ten minutes and make decisions. Lots. Imagine that. “Cancer, not cancer, cancer’. Every 10 minutes. We even try to do this without spending any money. Because there is no money. We get that. 

Other doctors are great too, but some get confused and think we are their juniors and should do jobs for them. Hilarious. We have to say no, which they don’t think is great.

And GPs are powerful. You know that because you said we have the power to stop sick people going to A+E. Fantastic.

We have the best staff. They are truly amazing. You should see them sometime. Our nurses never say no if we need them, and our HCAs hold the hands of people who are dying. For £9 an hour. That’s truly amazing. Our admin staff rarely get home on time. They are really great. We appreciate them and try to give them a pay rise every year. It’s difficult.

Our patients think we are great, they really do. We know this because we have to ask them and then show you that we have asked them. That was a great idea. Our patients love us writing letters for them. Letters to say they can shoot a gun, jump out of a plane or go camping. Even to say their child needs a smaller school meal. That was a really great one. They think we should do this for free! That’s amazing.

We think patients are great too. That’s why we miss our children’s bedtimes and sports days to look after them. We really know them. And that’s good for you with the no money thing because maybe we can stop them going into those expensive hospitals. 

Your special helper, Mr Hunt, thinks a computer could be a GP. That idea is remarkable. Tell him computers or non-GPs might arrange too many expensive tests. (If you mention money he might listen. He likes that).

GPs can manage risk. We love it. We are really really good at it. We use our superpower, clinical judgement. It appears like magic when you spend a decade training. But after triaging 100 people we can’t even think straight and are risky in a bad way. But you know that, and think that maybe if we work for longer and on more days it might help. I don’t get that but it must be a great idea because health secretary Jeremy Hunt has been telling America that we are safe and great. Meanwhile we pay an enormous amount of money in case we make a mistake. It’s more every year. It’s amazing. You should see it. 

So, I know you and your politician friends come first. But please, from this day forward, can it just be GPs second?

Dr Lara Douglass is a GP in Norfolk

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