This site is intended for health professionals only

Dump and dumper


I realise we GPs have a reputation for moaning, especially me. But that’s because we’re ideally placed to moan, as in located directly beneath a dumper truck full of faeculent slurry. After all, whatever bright new national or local initiative is announced, we know that, when everyone else runs away, we’ll be left holding the dysfunctional baby.

So, nationally, we’ve recently had the rollout of Covid antivirals – with the promise that this won’t touch us because it’ll all be sorted by CMDUs. Apart from the odd one that creeps through because of some data mismatch. And maybe a few others not originally included in the national registers. And perhaps, yes, that one at 5.45pm on Christmas Eve, who’d been told he needed antivirals but hadn’t received the CMDU text within the requisite time and wanted to spend around 20 minutes berating me about it.

In fact, he’d been mislabelled and didn’t need them anyway. Just as well, because by the time it was rant-over, all the admin staff had buggered off home – and I know as much about eRS referral as I do switching on a nuclear reactor.

And locally? Well, they’ve just started up virtual wards for respiratory patients who’d usually be in hospital were it not for the DGH being full of ‘My body, my choice’ anti-vaxxers whose body has chosen to be extremely ill with Covid.

Apparently, Ward Metaverse is going to be run by community respiratory teams under the supervision of a consultant, which does make me wonder why so many of the ‘explanatory’ flow-charts have arrows pointing to ‘GP’. I personally can’t wait to be called about a patient whose illness I know nothing about, whose treatment plan is a complete mystery to me and whose severity status is by definition outside my job description. What could possibly go wrong?

And all this on the familiar background of various badged ‘practitioners’ and ‘nurse consultants’ (yes, you, mental health team, palliative care team, COPD team, cardiac failure team, teams co-ordinator team etc etc) whose idea of taking responsibility for decisions, prescribing, lab results, referrals and everything else is to send us a red flagged message ‘for urgent action/review’ at precisely the moment we are shutting down our computers for the night.

So the reason we end up feeling responsible for everything about everyone every moment of the day is because we are.

And that’s why we moan. Sometimes, it just makes you want to cover your ears, shut your eyes and run away. Which is why I’m currently ideally placed: in a box, with straw, in the dark. And I’m not coming out until spring.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at


Truth Finder 14 January, 2022 10:21 am

Well said. So true.