Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

We're laughing at you

  • Print
  • Comments (2)
  • Save

There’s only one thing to do when confronted by random officiousness, in my view – and that’s laugh long and hard in its face. The more random and the more officious it is, the longer and harder we should laugh. And that’s why various well-meaning agencies, when they suffer these outpourings of overbearing bureaucracy, find we GPs simply don’t take them as seriously as they take themselves.

Consider, for example, a communication from our local infection control team. Apparently, a patient of ours has recently suffered a C. difficile infection. According to the email, the CCG takes a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to such infections, though it doesn’t clarify whether this means that it’s the GP, the patient or the micro-organism that should be shot. Furthermore, it requires us to complete a ‘root cause’ analysis (no idea, but helpful pro-forma supplied), to provide learning points and action taken, and to do all of this within a week.

On the one hand, this could be viewed just as a slightly overzealous approach to a significant problem. And on the other, it could be seen as pompous, heavy-handed, absurdly-worded, target-driven, labour-intensive, arbitrarily-deadlined, molar-grinding drivel. We favour the latter view on account of it being pompous, heavy-handed, absurdly-worded etc etc. That and the fact that we receive increasing numbers of communications of this sort – about drug errors, patient complaints, unscheduled admissions and so on – adopting a similarly hysterical and scolding tone.

If we were sensitive souls, we’d be ground down into despairing, self-flagellating submission by this sanctimonious claptrap. But we’re not. We just find it hilarious.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield

Readers' comments (2)

  • Dr Mustapha Tahir

    Little wonder according to this edition of Pulse, GPs and Practice Managers are amongst the ten happiest jobs! Very well explained Tony!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Took Early Retirement

    I answer these but in the following manner... "This unfunded work is not in my contract, I am not funded to do it, and will not until I am. "

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

  • Print
  • Comments (2)
  • Save

From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder