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I’ve never been prouder to be a GP

Dr David Turner

I’ve never been prouder to be a GP than I have been in recent months.

It’s not just the stream of positive feedback and thanks that we’ve received from our patients for how we’ve managed to continue running clinics in addition to the Covid booster campaign.

Nor is it just the speed that we adapted to a mixture of telephone, online and face-to-face consulting that’s put many other areas of the public sector to shame.

Nor how we’ve worked all the way through the pandemic and indeed gave up our bank holidays to work . Or continued to see patients face-to-face, when needed, all the way through the time of Covid, long before a vaccine was even on the horizon.

Or even that we’ve professionally and competently dealt with the frustrations and anger from patients whose referrals to secondary care have been rejected on spurious grounds and continued (largely uncomplainingly) to mop up the secondary care workload unceremoniously dumped on us.

No, it’s not that children with serious mental health problems are now being wholly managed in primary care, either. We do this highly specialist work that most of us aren’t specifically trained for, unfunded and on top of our normal burgeoning workload.

Neither is it the fact that a patient fobbed off by the rapid access chest pain service who, after our healthcare assistant did her own impromptu exercise test and ECGs performed before and after walking up the stairs showing clear and severe ischaemia, was seen urgently and stented the same day. The thanks we received from her was worth a thousand times more than any clap for carers.

It’s not that referrals to secondary care can feel like a battle, and that even patient self-referral services, like sexual health, who should always have their doors open, are turning patients away, yet they are still seen and dealt with by us in a timely manner.

Or how a patient who called our surgery for a phone consultation and was told that I would call back, and, thinking the call back would be too long, tried a private GP service whose wait was 12 hours. Who, when I called him back after half an hour, was amazed and delighted.

It would be too easy to let those with agendas in the press pull us down with their ignorant views.

For all of the above and so much more, be proud, we’re amazing – and our patients know it.

Dr David Turner is a GP in Hertfordshire


Cameron Wilson 18 January, 2022 7:06 pm

Absolutely spot on David, this truth will be revealed to all and sundry soon! The appalling situation of not supporting the most efficient and cost effective part of the NHS will come home to roost. It’s galling that the more we prop up the variety of services including secondary care the more we get taken for granted! I am not moaning and am about to retire but for the health and wellbeing of my colleagues left with dwindling support I am genuinely concerned. Unfortunately, I cannot see any solution but you are totally right to summarise so succinctly the effort that GP has delivered!

Sam Tapsell 18 January, 2022 9:45 pm

100% right.
Would also add ongoing efforts to train and support future generations, integrate new roles from PCNs, to fix and improve premises, adapt and integrate new technologies.
Expect my GP colleagues will have worked and earned high salaries, which will in time be fed to newspapers to attack us once again. Like we’re the ones getting a suitcase of booze for a “work event” during lockdown…

Shaba Nabi 19 January, 2022 12:53 pm

Lovely article – thank you!

Vinci Ho 19 January, 2022 1:06 pm

(1) It is indisputable that should be always proud of ourselves, despite all the GP battering our there by the government propaganda media (which is probably too busy right now figuring who to support for a potential leadership challenge) .
Deep down , I think they always know GP is the last line of defence , hence , the last straw on the camel’s back . But their job description is always about squeezing as much juice out of us as possible.
(2) We evidently saved the ar*e of this government through Phase 1 and 2 Covid Vaccination Programme during full lockdown last year . Secondary care is a ‘dead fish’ now confronting an egregiously long waiting time next 5 years , unless something radical will happen .
Given the track record of Tories’ managing NHS is not great , they know they need us more than we need them . They can try to play ‘good cop’ and let all their subordinates playing ‘bad cop’ .
Yes , of course , they can just ‘privatise’ the NHS😈
(3) There is no illusion that GP battering will go on but we continue to stand tall . My concern is that more and more burnout colleagues will leave their current positions ( as I have officially announced stepping down from Clinical Director in my PCN

Patrufini Duffy 19 January, 2022 3:01 pm

I am proud of all those empty, contemptuous and jealous individuals who wake up in the morning to make you question it all and walk into work in anxiety, trepidation and concern. The institutes that puppet the spiders web of failure, risk and scrutiny around you. I am proud that they are not the carer, and you are.