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Look who has come crawling back


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


Nicholas Sharvill 14 December, 2021 4:41 pm

was the Boris Johnson Sunday night speech a party political broadcast? i ask as the Labor leader then spoke the next day but it was titled as such by the BBC

David Bush 15 December, 2021 8:59 am

Nice article Ed

David Jarvis 15 December, 2021 10:03 am

Well we have told them to shove their leave cancelling. What are they going to do about it? And weirdly because of their own supid loss of personal allowance and pension tax rules only enough to double my income would really make any extra cash interesting.

GWYN HARRIS 16 December, 2021 9:35 am

This is the exact same line I’ve been using for a while about our relationship with the Johnson administration. At lease he’s consistent in both his professional and personal life.

Anthony Matheson 16 December, 2021 4:22 pm

Thought for the day and one I previously could never have even contemplated:

I preferred Jeremy Hunt!
I can’t believe I just wrote that. He was a cog in the Nasty Party’s wheel. Boris invented the wheel.

I also have no doubt that he would have made a far more diligent, comprehensible and responsible PM. He even seems to talk some sense in the DOH Select Committee.
He also has a much better haircut and demeanour than the current BIC (Buffoon In Chief).

Dr N 17 December, 2021 10:50 am

Jeremy Hunt was a good health minister. Our problem was his problem, the previous chancellors of the exchequer including Savid who’s only focus was reducing national debt at the expense of every public service.

The Prime Minister 17 December, 2021 12:35 pm



John Evans 5 January, 2022 7:51 am

They are awaiting the data to decide whether to push the LTA down further by a few hundred thousand. If it is not as bad as they fear, then they will reduce the LTA – just as had been threatened in the policy testing / press briefing (that seems to be the norm for politicians).

There seems to be a genuine fear of an exodus which will be due to the few years of pension boost in the early 2000s being exacerbated by the LTA reduction / freeze. Even the grot bags, e.g. GMC, have been less threatening and instead been snivelling and grovelling in the past couple of years.

I remember the BS ideas such as provision of alternative medicine without an evidence base because JH had a thing for it. He just seems less of a tw@t now because he is not prominent cabinet member required to enact difficult policies. None of them from either party will consider the interests of the medical profession at all important.

From Govt perspective, we have above average incomes that appear to be consistent with other developed nations – although some of us would argue that it does not reflect costs of living and other professional incomes in the UK. We have job security.

However, it has been our professional bodies responsibility to ensure that GP workload and conditions have been appropriate. GPs have some ‘blame’ as partners have traditionally worked more for higher incomes although in recent years the effort rewards has changed as income was squeezed and marginal tax rates stung. The professional bodies have protected working conditions effectively – increasingly complex work in greater volume without additional resources, etc.

John Evans 5 January, 2022 7:52 am

Not protected effectively