Yes, I found this rather disturbing also, but I was informed that the conclusion to a seminar about bullying for secondary school children ended with the instructor advising that when every other tactic has failed to deal with a tormentor, a punch in the face may be the only option left.
I hate bullies. I mean, really detest them. A psychiatrist I once worked with told me that it’s important to be aware of the personality types that irritate you most. For him, it was narcissists, for me, bullies.
I think general practice has been the victim of too many different bullies for way too long. The CQC, GMC, NHSE, DHSC, and, I’m sad to say, secondary care, have all in their time taken their turn in giving us a dead arm and stealing our sweets in the corner of the playground and, like a rather pathetic victim, all we do is hand over the candy and whimper meekly while waiting for the next beating.
When will we as a profession, and particularly those who call themselves our leaders, realise that the softer options of negotiation, reasoning, pleading and logic are strategies that will never work with a bully? No, it is time to hit the nuclear button.
We must remember that bullies are such because fundamentally they’re insecure. Using threats and belittling others is their way of hiding their own inadequacies. I’ll leave it you to work out which of the aforementioned bodies this applies most to.
Now, when I say a punch in the face, of course I don’t literally mean giving the current health secretary a bloody nose. Although I can think of plenty of them in my career I’d have paid good money to bop on the hooter. No, of course I mean a metaphorical punch in the face. In the case of general practice, this means saying: no. Saying: no, no, no and no again, and for once actually meaning it.
No, we will not take part in your pointless appraisals and revalidations. No, we will not move every item that makes our consulting rooms habitable just because of the tiniest risk that it may harbour bacteria. No, we will not engage in more unpaid data collection for the Government. No, we will not act as secondary care skivvies. No, we will not be patronised in one breath and slated in the next.
So how about it? Is anybody else ready to glove up?
Dr David Turner is a GP in Hertfordshire