Columnist Dr Copperfield argues that care pathway meetings guilt trip GPs into thinking that they should put up with an ever increasing workload for patients’ sake
Flipping heck, to put it mildly! I have the answer!! I now know why we drag ourselves out of bed every morning to endure another session at what we’re contractually obliged to call ‘the coalface’!!!
Apparently, it’s the patients. We do it for them. It’s all because we care about them and want them to get the best service possible.
What? You knew?! Well, you’re ahead of me, then. I thought we did it for money, or status, or because our brains would melt if we spent our days watching daytime TV. But no: we do it all for our patients.
I know this now, because I’ve repeatedly had it rammed down my throat at various meetings I’ve been volunteered to attend. There are shedloads of these meetings happening currently because of the pressing need to colonically irrigate our impacted NHS. Hence meetings about referral pathways, avoiding admissions, ensuring fitness for ops, yada yada.
Every single one of them begins with a little homily from someone high up, strategic and inevitably not a GP, reminding all attendees that, ‘ultimately, what this is all about, is patient care’. This is followed by a predictable sequence of events, and I’ll provide a summary here:
- An equally emotive crie de coeur about how secondary care is buckling
- The implication that the solution lies with primary care doing a bit more to ‘help spread the load’
- That implication being made explicit via ‘an ask’ from secondary care
- Dissenting voices from primary care guilted into silence by looping back to the sanctimonious blurb about it being ‘all about patients, which is what we all want, right?’
So, trigger warning: if you’re in a meeting and the preamble involves a reminder of ‘why we’re all doing this in the first place’, you will experience unpleasant sensations that you’re about to be dumped on by secondary care, because you are.
The solution is obvious: leave the meeting immediately. After all, those patients this meeting is all about are outside, waiting to be seen.
Dr Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of his blogs here