Dr Sarah Merrifield
I do hope you are well. I am writing to congratulate you on such an interesting few months as Prime Minister.
As a staunch feminist, I was super looking forward to having a ‘lady’ Prime Minister. ’Finally, a strong female leader I can aspire to,’ I thought, anticipating the potential changes to come. Like a complete wally I’d also voted Tory, due to a (granted misguided and ill-informed) notion that the Tories supported those who were hard working professionals. Silly me. Not overly chuffed with young David or his bestie Mr Hunt, I had hoped that you would provide the strong voice that we needed as doctors in the NHS.
Unfortunately, I have to admit I’m ever so slightly disappointed. I genuinely love general practice. I’ve worked in it since I was 16 and done just about every job possible in a surgery (except the cleaning, never been very good at that). It is possible that I perhaps have a slight element of Stockholm Syndrome having been in this world for so long but I really think it is the bees’ knees. Where else can you walk into a building and get diagnosis, counselling, benefits advice and referrals in under 10 minutes?! Who else provides lifelong support to patients and their families about anything and everything free of charge?
Got the answer yet? Very good. Nowhere else does. And doing all this is in fact the best job in the world. The privilege and satisfaction to be gained is immeasurable. The improvements that can be made to people’s lives and health, invaluable.
So let’s get down to business. I’m aware that you have an extensive background in business and politics but I have an A-level in business studies which I’m fairly sure makes me nearly as knowledgeable. As my memory (and common sense) serves me there are two key elements one requires to run a successful business or service. Number 1, money to run the service and number 2, motivated staff to work in the service (I’m sure customers were in there too but I doubt we’ll be running short of those any time soon).
Unfortunately we are currently lacking in the two key components. And that is where we need your help. I’m not a psychologist but I’m pretty sure that unfairly blaming and chastising GPs is not the best way to go about motivating. We’re already uber efficient, to the point that even the Germans would struggle to make further savings but there’s only such much you can do with so little. We love our jobs but need the support from you do them.
I hope you will take my thoughts seriously. In in the words of your equally interesting American chum:
LET’S MAKE GENERAL PRACTICE GREAT AGAIN!
Keenly awaiting your reply,
Dr Sarah Merrifield is a GP leadership fellow in Yorkshire
Letters to the PM: Pulse’s writing competition
- Winner – Dr Samuel Finnikin: I hope that when you are dying, you can rely on the NHS to be there
- 2nd place – Dr Dominic Hennessy: I love my job but it’s making me sick
- 3rd place – Dr Mabel Aghadiuno: Going beyond the call of duty
- 4th place – Dr Nishma Manek: We help shape lives
- 5th place – Dr Antonio Manno: Two lives overlapping
- The best of the other entries
- Under 35s winner – Let’s make general practice great again