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Proud to be doing something

Jobbing Doctor plans his retirement from general practice and decides now is the time to join a political demonstration

In a few years time I will cease being a doctor. I shall entirely rescind my responsibilities and stop paying the General Medical Council too much of my hard-earned money.

That will save me over £400. Good.

I shall also forego the privilege of paying medical indemnity insurance. I shall not be doing locums into my dotage, and will avoid the prospect of people saying: ‘well, Jobbing Doctor used to be a good doctor, but he's past it now.' That will also save me £6000 per annum. Good.

However, there are down sides to this. One of the significant features of retirement, according to my sister (whom I love and respect) is the loss of status. She felt it keenly when she retired. Being a retired Jobbing Doctor is not as significant as being a Jobbing Doctor.

However, that is something that I can live with. I will just be a retired doctor, and when faced with some tricky question from a friend or acquaintance, I can demur and say that I am no longer up to date. That does, of course, assume that I am up to date now, which is, indeed, a moot point!

The prospect of retirement is not something I yearn for, as I will miss the job that I have done with varying levels of competence for 35 years now. However, it is not the only thing in my life, and I think it is important to plan for retirement. This means that I am busier than ever developing new strands to my life in order to find activities to fill the aching void of joblessness.

It is important to remember that, before and after my medical career, I have always been a citizen. I have always lived in England, and I love the country. I shall fade away and die in England, too. That means that, as a citizen, it is important to play the full part of a citizen of (as Shakespeare put it) ‘this sceptr'd isle'.

There are always dark undercurrents in any society, and ours is no different. One of the most fascinating things is that, as a Jobbing GP in a very mixed area, I have the privilege of access into and knowledge of the lives of many different classes of individuals that many professional people would not. I am trusted by barristers and teachers and asylum seekers and paedophiles. I have extraordinary stories told to me, including one of my favourites about a woman who was an accountant by day and a sado-masochistic prostitute by night!

So I am very comfortable talking to all kinds of people. I encounter many ‘-isms'; consumerism, sexism, pacifism, ageism, and political extremism (at both ends of the spectrum). The one ‘-ism', however, I cannot abide is racism.

It is, therefore, as a citizen that I have to respond to racism. I feel that it is my duty to stand up against this, remembering the words of Edmund Burke - the father of conservatism - when he said:

‘For evil to triumph it is merely necessary for good men to do nothing'

So, in my region, there is a planned march by a particularly unpleasant group of thugs from the racist hard right of our society on Easter Saturday. It takes place in Dudley - a racially mixed area of the West Midlands.

I have decided to attend a counter-demonstration to voice a middle-aged and respectable position on this matter.

So if you see a headline ‘Pulse columnist arrested in demonstration in Dudley' that will be me.

Proud to be doing something.

Jobbing Doctor