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

‘It was like leaving an abusive relationship’

Dr Daniel Mounce, a former GP in Bradford, says he had to leave the profession due to burnout

‘The public and the politicians pay you to take shit from them,’ my appraiser said, in what he presumably intended as a timely attitude readjustment. But he was wasting his breath.

I had decided to leave my practice after falling apart mid-consultation when a patient threatened to kill herself. The threat itself was mere hyperbole, but it was the last straw.

Leaving general practice has been like leaving an abusive relationship: the shaming and invective, the fear, the unreasonable demands were about driving down self-esteem. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought I could stick it for another 30 years.

I had time to reflect, not without a little bitterness, on what the job had become: the spiralling workload and the cold dread of stepping across the practice threshold each morning. I left general practice last December and started work at a hospice a week later.

I made the change for several reasons. Gone is the relentless pressure to move onto the next patient. I have taken a significant pay cut, but I don’t care, this job at least does not treat me like something you scrape of your shoe. I start at 9am, get a lunch break, and I get to lavish time on my patients.

What would it take to induce me to return to general practice? Even as I ponder the answer, I know it’s futile. The job won’t get any more sustainable with seven-day opening, and a dwindling number of colleagues. No. I’m done. You can keep the excrement.

Dr Daniel Mounce was a GP in Bradford.

Rate this article  (4.65 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 (37)

  • Well said and good analogy

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • FFS, where's the BMA in all this?? where is their support??

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mark Porter has been there for close to 20 years. Knighthood on the way no doubt for 'services to medicine.' Establishment have got a hold on the BMA. There's your problem.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The only option GPs have is voting with their feet. And this is happening.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been removed by the moderator.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well said.
    British General Practice is being allowed to fail.
    The effect on our colleagues (and we are meant to be a Profession) is an outrage.
    We should stand. BMA? RCGP?
    How much is too much? When do we stand?
    I'm seeing colleagues struggle all over, am starting to feel it too.
    We seem to have allowed ourselves to become the villains in the failing NHS when of course we are nothing of the sort.
    Ask me for cash to run large scale TV campaigns, ask us all. Ask us to stand, support us with industrial action.
    Seriously, it's failing in front of our eyes.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My guess is our Maureen and the previous chair - the former a Tory MP, the later a Labour job somewhere and seat in the House of Lords (while adding to her 25 strong practices).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dan, I recently did the same (clinical trials rather than hospice more me though). I spent a lot of time thinking that it was my fault that the job made me ill. That I was not tough enough. Now I know what normal feels like. I go to work without tears in the car on the way. I don't leave with feeling of dread about what I might have missed or done wrong.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I left GP 5 months ago. I've had short breaks and thought about leaving before but I'm hoping this time it's permanent. I'm in the middle of my career and should have another 30 yrs ahead of me but the idea of even doing one more week fills me with dread. The sense of relief is massive. I can open my emails now without an overwhelming sense of doom. I don't know if I can afford to stay out but I'd rather change my life completely and work in a cafe if I have to than go back.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "The public and the politicians pay you to take shit from them,’ my appraiser said, in what he presumably intended as a timely attitude readjustment. "

    My appraiser said " you lucky thing, I am thinking of doing the same myself"

    Have not done a day's work for 5 months, having a ball, normal personality returning and feeling great. I also feel that I have escaped from an abusive relationship. Never again!

    Deliberately was late for my appraisal and, surprise surprise, no one in "authority" said a word.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say

IMPORTANT: On Wednesday 7 December 2016, we implemented a new log in system, and if you have not updated your details you may experience difficulties logging in. Update your details here. Only GMC-registered doctors are able to comment on this site.