Dr Pete Deveson BLOG Sq web duo
I’m at the RCGP Conference, where I find myself in the unusual position of feeling sorry for Jeremy Hunt. I recognise that this may feel like something of a stretch for many readers, but stay with me here. It hasn’t always been easy for our longest-serving Health Secretary, who’s been in post so long he predates Gangnam Style, Candy Crush Saga, and the days when Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris were still family favourites.
Over that time, he’s often had to turn up to conference with only pay freezes and extra work to announce. But this year the Government actually has something to offer GPs, having finally responded to the crescendo of concern about defence fees with the promise of a state-backed indemnity scheme.
I’m reserving judgment as to whether this will turn out to be a Good Thing; bitter experience has taught me that the Department of Health never serves up carrots without a side order of sticks. And a dessert of sticks. And a cheeseboard of sticks followed by a refreshing stick digestif.
But until the details of the deal become clear I’m willing to chow down on this carroty amuse-bouche like Bugs Bunny with the munchies. The MDU have already announced a reduction in their rates which appears at face value to be great news, at least for GPs registered with the MDU. I guess those of us lumbered with other providers will just have to eke out our fair share of the bonanza by temporarily being, like, super negligent or something.
Trouble is, GPs have long memories. And this is where my unexpected sympathy kicks in; imagine coming to conference armed with a gimme like the indemnity thing, knowing it’ll be well-received, they’ll be eating out of your hand, and who knows, maybe you’ll garner some decent headlines out of it, couldn’t do your leadership hopes any harm, after all the PM’s on her last legs and you could rise head and shoulders above the motley crew of deplorables scrummaging to replace her by looking like a dependable firm hand on the tiller in these troubled times, and then suddenly instead of the applause you feel you so richly deserve all you can hear is the audience whooping and cheering for someone who’s dared to call you out on your record, and despite yourself you feel a snarl crawling across your features, and even though you kind of just about suppress it you end up pulling a face like an angry janitor the Scooby Doo gang have just unmasked, and that’s the video that goes viral.
It’s now had a quarter of a million views on Facebook, and I reckon no more than half of those can have been me. Feel free to make it a quarter million and one.
Dr Pete Deveson is a GP in Surrey. You can follow him on Twitter @PeteDeveson