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Giving the support package a rocket

Giving the support package a rocket

I’ve been slow to respond to the Government’s already notorious ‘support package’ for GPs. But I have been digesting it. Literally, I mean. I was so enraged by its contents that I ate my hard copy and then defaecated the result into a pit to which I added wood and fuel which I then set fire to before filling it and in and installing a patio over the top. Just to be clear where I stand.

It’s not the fact that this was the most stupid and ill-timed directive the NHS has ever had the gall to impose on us in living memory, even though it is that. It’s the fact that it’s been trumpeted as a gentle hand of support whereas it is so obviously a fist in the face.

But where I was infuriated by NHSE, I’m perplexed by the GPC. They’ve instructed us not to engage with the plan, which feels a bit like being told not to co-operate with beatings. Assuming the policed consultation data is pulled by the NHS rather than pushed by us, there’s nothing for us to do except lie back and hope we’re not about to be shafted for being in the lowest 20%. Though if you are, you could always try pressing that panic button that NHSE has promised to install.

But while we scratch our heads over non-engagement, how will we react to the GPC’s suggested industrial action? I’ll tell you. We won’t. Not because of the usual herding-cats diversity of opinion. Not because of the perennial and inexplicable apathy that gets in the way of genuine protests. And not because of the pragmatic concerns that pulling out of the PCN DES could cause us a serious financial pain in the ARRS.

No. It’s just that we’re too knackered to respond in any unified, militant way. We’re working 12-hour days in a job that’s increasingly untenable. We’re too busy, too tired and too distracted to man the barricades. The very thing we should be fighting against is what stops us fighting at all.

So do what you want, NHSE. Your bomb-wrapped-as-gift may well blow general practice out of the water. I just hope you’re ready for the collateral damage.

Perhaps we could have a chat about it, Mr Javid, at the bonfire party I’m giving to christen my new patio. You’re definitely invited. And I’m sure there will be fireworks.

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



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 25 October, 2021 4:40 pm

I am starting to notice more and more confrontational consultations. Indifferent time wasting is ubiquitous nationally. There’s no Snowmed code for that, you just suck it up and explain the trivial. And they get away with it. Leeching it all dry. Toxic swipes and slurs, blazeh, childish frustrations. Today the patient said “Twice a year I get a strain in my neck, when I dry my hair too fast”. You get it. Blah. The public’s (not patient, there’s a difference which hasn’t been defined due to leadership myopia) ego and the self-priviliged mind are, like all unions in the UK say, gutting out public servants and it’s seeding into the water pipes, whether you’re a GP, bus driver or work in Lidl. The UK is on a trajectory to nowhere, and that’s a dark, lonely and unfulfilled place. They want you to mop up loneliness and boredom, and irresponsibility. With demand and infrastructure fragmentation this will, eventually, cause an increase in value on your head, particularly by other countries. The UK can’t steal enough doctors from elsewhere quick enough, however hard they try. The current recruitments from what I see a lot, Zimbabwe and South India, like Hunt said yesterday in the Financial Times are morally quite wrong, stripping other countries because of your own failings. A good next Pulse article, how the NHS steals the worlds workforce, and sledges their own.