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We’re all equally burned out but some are more equally burned out than others

We’re all equally burned out but some are more equally burned out than others

Dr Copperfield on the dangers of pitting professionals against each other

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Research has shown that, apparently, GPs are the least burned out of all doctors. How can this be?! Everyone knows that we are the most hard-pressed, oppressed and distressed specialty. The only rational explanation is that GPs were too burned out to bother replying to the surveys. How dare others appropriate the misery we’ve worked so hard to achieve?

On the other hand, maybe it’s true. Perhaps things aren’t really that bad. After all, general practice can be quite enjoyable. I remember one particularly fulfilling day, though, admittedly, it was about 13 years ago. But I do remind myself, when I’m having a particularly rubbish time, that I could be running an A&E department or pain clinic, and I suddenly find myself laughing my head off.

Anyway, no matter how much stress each specialty is or isn’t suffering as the NHS crumbles, and no matter how much that does or doesn’t burn us out, we really mustn’t resort to internecine sniping or gloating like I just did above. That will lead to a toxic culture whereby we end up pointing fingers of blame at fellow professionals rather than the feckless, directionless and clueless politicians who are responsible for this mess.

Except it’s too late, as West Midlands GPs discovered when a paramedic crew, arriving after three hours and three calls to a dying patient, somehow managed to suggest that GP surgeries might be to blame. Thanks, chaps. I’ll remember that next time you call me to support your decision not to take an off-her-legs little-old-lady to hospital on the basis that it’s probably a UTI, give her trimethoprim and ‘pop round’ when I’m next free. Sure, I’ll do it, just as soon as you cancel your subscription to the Daily Mail.

This is what happens when systems implode and those within them try to survive with their reputations intact. Look, we’re all working our NHS socks off. So let’s show some mutual respect and pat each other on the back for functioning as a great team and doing our best in very trying circumstances. We’re all going above and beyond and sweating blood for our patients, right? Especially us GPs.

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



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

Patrufini Duffy 20 September, 2022 4:53 pm

The last time I checked the hospital Consultant’s secretary only works on a Monday and Thursday morning. And the Consultant (and his colleagues) are all unavailable. He has now been procured by the Mayo Clinic and Cavendish Clinic for much of the week – yes American big boy-girl corporates, and by HCA (Healthcare America) in London.
He is very busy. In other news, Liz Truss aims to remove the bankers bonus cap, get rid of sugar tax, keep sending missiles abroad, not tax the fossil fuel industry and make you do more work to make people feel “heard” and cared for.

Decorum Est 20 September, 2022 11:50 pm

‘How dare others appropriate the misery we GPs have worked so hard to achieve?’. INDEED!!!

Truth Finder 21 September, 2022 3:05 pm

Well said. We are surveyed out and has no time to do more.

Simon Whiting 22 September, 2022 3:45 pm

Ann Cartwright explored this problem very well in “Patients & their Doctors” in 1967.
And 55 years later – here we are …