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Gold, incentives and meh

Why I absolutely think we should work weekends

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Honk! Yeah, that was me supporting the junior’s strike yesterday as opposed to me puking up at the thought of having to cope without my trusty, striking trainee.

So it might sound odd to hear that I absolutely support weekend work being viewed as routine, both for hos-docs and GPs, but bear with me.

I actually find it hard to articulate how bonkers I view the Government’s obsession with promulgating the idea that medical care should be available to everyone, all the time. Whenever I try to express why this is so wrong, I just end up banging my head against the nearest wall and sobbing uncontrollably.

I support weekend working. So long as, of course, that it means we stop weekday working

To summarise as best I can: there is too much medicine. The better access we provide and the more ‘routine’ we define it, the more the punters find reasons to attend, the earlier they come and the more disjointed their care. The result is people who are overmedicalised, overinvestigated and overtreated. Money is wasted, anxiety heightened, illness created. It achieves the exact opposite of what is intended. I’ll have to stop now because I’m welling up and looking at some bricks.

Anyhow, that’s why I support weekend working. So long as, of course, that it means we stop weekday working. Provide a two day week of medical care, same pay, five days off. Patients would quickly learn that medical care is actually a precious resource not to be abused, the epidemic of iatrogenesis would be averted, and we doctors would cheer up immensely.

Honk if you support this idea. And pass the vomit bucket if you’re sick of where we’re heading.

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

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Readers' comments (32)

  • Absolutely agree. Increasing supply only increases demand, with the only winners being the chronic '3 hour history sore throat/don't like my job' club who somehow manage to always get one of the scarce appointments. Those that are actually sick and don't shout loudly enough miss out. The more we increase supply, the more common sense and self care ability we remove from society.
    And anyway... Paracetamol is available from most shops 24/7.... Maybe people would consider forking out 25p of their hard earned benefits or money left over after the weekly fags and booze shop if it wasn't so easy to get it from us.

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  • completely agree there is too much medicine and 'normal' but sometimes unpleasant life events get medicalised to the detriment of the patient and longterm the doctor.

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From: Copperfield

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