Because of worsening problems with partnership, I decided to write to the head of the major GP partnership review, Dr Nigel Watson, for advice.
Dear Nigel, I have been reading your agony column for a while, but this is the first time I’ve plucked up the courage to write in. You see, I’m having serious problems with my partnership.
When partnership first bloomed back in 2004, I thought I was the luckiest girl alive. He had so many admirers fighting for his attention, but he chose me. He showered me with gifts and money, which meant I no longer had to work the night shifts I so hated. I was so happy in those early days, I couldn’t imagine life without him, and I assumed we would grow old together.
But a few years later, things started to change. It was slow initially, so I barely noticed. The money and gifts dried up first, then I started having to work longer hours to meet his demands. No matter how well I cooked his meals or cleaned his carpets, I was often made to feel inadequate.
I was working weekends and nights but he just dumped even more work on me
He kept reminding me how entitled he was to feel this way, because he was the one funding our relationship. I accepted this at first and worked even longer hours to please him, but the harder I worked, the more unreasonable he became.
Things got even worse after the kids came along. I was working weekends and nights but instead of helping, he dumped even more work on me. He kept inviting more and more people round to stay and I ended up taking care of all of them. Every time I tried to push this extra work back and say ‘no’, I was told there were plenty of others willing to step into my shoes.
It began to stop feeling like a partnership.
Then, last month, I received a letter from the bank to say I would be thrown out of my home because I was in mortgage arrears. He had remortgaged my house without me knowing and I can no longer afford the loan.
Nigel, I know where the problems lie. It’s not me, it’s him. But only you can help me. You must tell him he cannot expect me to work long hours, and then pick up all the extra work at home. My workload needs to be clearly defined so that when it’s done, I’ve got time to relax and enjoy some ‘me time’.
Second, tell him he’s got to start respecting me again. Some of that respect should come in the form of money, but the majority should come from valuing me as the good human being I am.
Finally, he has to know that he cannot have control of the roof over my head. He must be removed from the title deeds and the liability must not fall on me.
If he cannot start making these changes soon, he will lose me. I love him, but in time I will learn to love someone else who will treat me with the care and respect I deserve.
I am turning to you, because I fear you are the only person who can reach him now. If you can’t convince him to change, I can’t wait around in the vain hope he will change himself.
Yours, Dr Shaba Nabi.
Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol