The graffiti that was daubed on the wall of a GP practice was almost certainly done by a patient acting alone, who is almost certainly going through their own struggles. The words ‘The doctors here don’t give a shit’ seems to be them lashing out after not getting the outcome they hoped for in an indefensible way.
It is human nature to look for a scapegoat. Every single GP reading this will have angry, frustrated patients who probably choose to blame their GP for the struggles they are going through. Equally, there will be a number of patients who (again, wrongly) blame their hospital for not giving them the outcomes they wanted. And people blaming doctors – GPs or those in secondary care – has always been the case.
The problem is that we are now in an environment where a patient felt empowered to make this abuse against GPs public in the most horrible way. Yes, it might be a lone case. But let me ask you this: can you imagine a hospital being covered in graffiti like this? And if it was, wouldn’t you expect this to be a national news story?
But GPs are fair game. There are journalists on twitter looking for patients to decry their GP; there are columnists on twitter making false claims around GP practices being closed; and, of course, there was NHS England’s press release around the same issue. The latter is all the more galling when you see its reaction to a story attacking secondary care.
It wasn’t long ago that the public were clapping for the NHS because of the sacrifices they are making. But already, it looks like GPs have become the convenient scapegoat, despite making sacrifices themselves – some tragically. Unless the rhetoric from the media and the NHS changes, this will only get worse.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.