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Saddle up and grit your teeth

I am sorry to read that Dr Phil Peverley is considering going part time, but I'm also concerned his clear symptoms of burnout provoke a wider malaise.

He writes wistfully of 1987, when things seemed so much easier – but those of us in general practice then will remember being on call 24/7, with a broken night's sleep followed by a busy Monday morning surgery and the consequent disruption to family life.

The demands of general practice have, no doubt, increased with an ageing, more demanding population and an increased armamentarium allied with greater scrutiny of our effectiveness.

But there are cycles in everything and we have also been lucky to have practised since 1997, while the health service has been awash with funds. GPs with historical awareness will know of the despondency in the 1960s.

The wheel is turning and GPs need to take the longer view. It is going to be tougher for a spell, as it has been before, and over a 35-year career lifecycle GPs will witness several episodes of these alterations in professional fortune.

But for now, we need to saddle up, grit our teeth and realise that it is going to be long ride back to the sunny uplands.

From Dr Nick Foreman, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire