It truly is amazing how the human mind makes connections between seemingly unconnected things. For example, while watching Boris Johnson give his address to the nation on Sunday night, for some inexplicable reason, I started thinking about a gaslighting, philandering spouse.
Because that is what the relationship between GPs and the Government feels like right now. GPs are like the partner that works all hours of the day, comes home and sorts everything in the house, including all the paperwork and looking after the children.
The Government, on the other hand, is like the spouse who thinks nothing of joining in the criticism of their partner when the bores at the golf club complain about them. They gaslight the partner and drive them to burnout, perhaps knowing the partner is unfortunately locked into this marriage. Yet when the children’s health is at stake, look who comes crawling back.
GPs will carry out the booster programme, they know it’s vital. But this is absolutely galling because it just seems so unfair.
Even with the most cynical view of politics, a Government devoid of ethics must weigh up competing interests, because it never knows when it might need some support. Yet in the continuing row over face-to-face appointments, the Government has not tried even a bit to keep GPs onside. Ministers have completely taken the side of the reactionary elements of the media, which have been pushing their bad faith narrative.
Yet now, GPs are needed to help the NHS carry out one million vaccinations a day (presumably Telegraph columnists and Daily Mail editors aren’t able to carry this out on their own). In the best of times, this would play havoc with GPs and their rotas, their ability to take a break after a gruelling year, and their relationship with patients when they inevitably have to cancel appointments.
But the Government’s fuelling of the face-to-face row will make this infinitely harder. Patients have been told they are entitled to see their GP on demand, regardless of need, and that is not a message you can just recall, like a philandering spouse’s inappropriate email to a co-worker.
A responsible Government would have put forward the case that GPs are working flat out, and they should be allowed to make decisions around what type of consultations they provide.
This is my last blog of the year, and I am sad to say it feels like I have written the same piece over and over. I am glad I can take time off, but I am also angry that leave for general practice has effectively been cancelled after the Government has already drained any goodwill.
And whereas GPs will probably have to cancel their Christmas parties even though they are within the rules, no doubt Government ministers will be able to keep up their annual tradition. Which is especially good news for floppy-haired philanderers at the head of the Government.
All that is left for me is to say Merry Christmas, and thanks for all your hard work. See you all in the (hopefully – thanks to you – safer) New Year!
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at email@example.com