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That bit worse

That bit worse

We are in spring, which is hardly a notorious time for the NHS. Yet over the Easter weekend, there were reports of trusts calling in GPs to help on ward rounds.

Sadly, this doesn’t feel like the big story it once would have been. Something that is always at the back of my mind when discussing the current state of general practice is whether anything can actually be done. I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that even addressing the problems in general practice won’t actually solve them while it continues to operate in a wider system that gets that bit worse every year.

Every year, GPs, secondary care doctors, the BMA and trust managers issue dire warnings about the coming winter (and, nowadays, spring/summer/autumn too). Every year, Government-friendly newspapers argue after the event that these warnings were overblown, that the NHS is still there.

But in reality, the system is getting worse every year. There is no single event that will be studied by future generations as the moment that the NHS collapsed. In the past, we may have felt that, for example, the army being called in or ambulances waiting outside hospitals would be this Berlin Wall moment, but these have passed without much comment.

What will continue to happen is that care will get that little bit worse, there will be a greater number of unavoidable deaths every year, medical staff – especially GPs – will be working beyond their competence that bit more.

This is of course true for general practice, but it is equally true for secondary care and it will be impossible for one to turn this around without the other. But I can’t see this happening. So here is to the NHS’s worst summer ever (until the next one).

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 20 April, 2022 3:31 pm

I think the biggest lie going on, is that it’s alright. It isn’t, and to be honest it is an utter shambles, comedy show and cover-up. There is substandard, neglectful and plain right dangerous activity being played out, on some of the most vulnerable individuals in society. There is siphoning of money and contract procurements which are ugly and perverse. There is legal and regulatory scrutiny which is impeding efficiency and false promises, of services that don’t exist. And it seems that a certain cohort of “worried wells” which we would call utter time-wasters, but must be nannied with cotton wool and empathy, who are draining both the staff, and scarce resources available, without remorse or guilt, and merely perpetuated by a commercial juggernaut of medicalisation and GP misuse, to ultimately promote fear, anxiety and suffering, which keeps people mediocre, ill and completely limited in their existence. Job well done, all that are orchestrating this, the “leaders”.

Turn out The Lights 20 April, 2022 4:59 pm

The equivalent of a special military operation.

Vinci Ho 20 April, 2022 5:12 pm

‘’Government-friendly newspapers argue after the event that these warnings were overblown, that the NHS is still there.’’
Jaimie , your choice of word , ‘government-friendly’ , is polite and euphemistic . I would choose something else , of course .
The problem is many people still prefer to read these papers everyday ‘believing’ what was written . And this is ,in effect ,not much different from state-controlled media/press in Orwellian autocracies around the world . At the moment , the spinning narrative is ‘western democracy is dying .’(well , it does not help we have a PM who broke rules and misled the parliament👿)
But then , it further reinforced the vital existence of publications like Pulse to uphold what we actually believe ……..,😑
Keep going , Jaimie , thank you for the effort of you guys.👍😄

Decorum Est 21 April, 2022 2:57 pm

The NHS has been on a slide for at least three decades and barely kept functioning by the frantic efforts of committed staff and the latter are now burnt out.
Patrufini Duffi sums it well!

Patrufini Duffy 27 April, 2022 3:41 pm

How would a dentist deal with a person that doesn’t turn up to appointments, then thinks they can complain. And then want more same day appointments? And the Government certainly doesn’t discourage that. What a system to work in.