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