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A faulty production line

GPs' letter to patients explains how Government drove them to early retirement

A married GP couple have sent a letter to patients explaining how Government-led ‘vilification’ of general practice has driven them to retire early.

Doctors John Glasspool and Jill Graham - who have run the Victor Street surgery in Southampton, Hampshire for almost 30 years - said that in the last eight years changes by successive governments have made their job ‘more and more difficult’ as funding is cut and the burden of administration and inspection increases.

They have written to patients explaining that, as general practices’ proportion of NHS funding continues to shrink, they would soon be in a position where their standards of work would be compromised and wished to leave before this happened.

The letter states: ‘In many ways we shall be sorry to go since over time, many of you have become like our chums and we shall miss you greatly.’

‘Sadly, over the last eight years or so, governments of both parties seem to have had it in for general practice and have been making the job more and more difficult, demanding “more for less”, and increasing the burden of administration and inspection.’

Adding: ‘This cannot go on for ever, and we both feel that we would shortly be in the position of not being able to do our work to the standards we would like.’

‘You may have noticed that there has been a campaign of vilification against GPs in some sections of the press for some time now. It is so persistent that we can only assume it comes from Government. Under the circumstances, a lot of GPs in their fifties are doing the same as us.’

Speaking to Pulse, Dr Glasspool said: ‘I suppose you could say that we feel, part of it is, someone has to make a stand. GPs are very good at whinging, but not very good at taking action. We thought we can go now, while we’re still hopefully in good health.’

‘The patients are sorry to hear us going but there you. I tell them the same story, it’s not you lot, it’s the government. The patients are great.’

‘There’s almost no chance of coming back as a salaried GP, because of the requirements of revalidation – we’ll probably be lost to the profession forever once we go. That’s why I want to be a bus driver, they don’t have to revalidate.’

A recent BMA survey found that their feelings were echoed throughout the profession, with six in every ten GPs considering early retirement and more than half describing their morale as ‘low’ or ‘very low’ - a similar number described their workload as ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unsustainable’.

Readers' comments (33)

  • This couple have sadly been let down by their own profession which seems to prefer to collaborate with the Dept of Health rather than support any notion of industrial action.

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  • Well done for saying it like it is. General Practice has been trashed by the Government's bungling for the last ten years or so.

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  • What a sad situation for both GPs and their patients. They have been true to their high standards rather than kowtowing. Good luck to them. Perhaps we should be taking lessons from them and not allowing standards to be reduced any further.

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  • I could have written the same last year when I retired at 60.

    I feel sorry for the younger doctors whose lives have been blighted by the GMC, the CQC, the Daily Mail, the Lawyers, and (worst of all) the Department of Health.

    Revalidation, workload, pensions theft all contributed. The crisis in General Practice is only a couple of years away.......

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  • Una Coales

    @jobbing doctor @johnglasspool I have now managed to make contact with both UKIP's health advisor and the Tories PM advisor and will meet with the latter next month to have GPs and doctors backs. We will stop the bullying of our profession. They will not quash general practice but give us a lifeline as they did NHS dentists or as John Glasspool has admirably done, he has contacted all his patients (voters) to tell them the truth.

    We can make it a win:win for government, doctors and patients but only if they stop scapegoating and maligning the most trusted profession in the country, NHS doctors! Work with us, not against us.

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  • sort out the pension robbery and I will rejoin the BMA....

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  • In giving 30 years of service I am sure in most professions people finder it harder to adapt and work. General Practice is a very different place from where it was in the 1980's. Times change, systems change and people change with better technology and new ways of working. What is consistent is that it has always been busy and challenging.

    A mechanic giving over 30 years of service would also probably be looking to get out of the business as cars get more reliable, more complex to repair with computers needed to find faults and people want them fixing yesterday. The whole world changes after 30 years not just General Practice.

    I am sorry to see 2-very experienced GPs go but we all know General Practice as it stands has little chance of survival. I wish them all the best for their future.

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  • CK

    So sorry to hear this but it is sadly a familiar story ; the crisis is already here in some part of NEE and by the time some sectors of the media and government figure out what is happening , it will be too late ..

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  • 10:55 "sort out the pension robbery and I will rejoin the BMA…."

    For me its all about the unsustainable workload, repeated ridiculous changes and hoops to jump through and maligning us as a profession - less about the pension. The demand is unsustainable and NHS General Practice as we know it is about to change forever in the next 5 years.

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  • And not for the better.

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