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If pharmacists can’t solve the workforce crisis, perhaps fairies can



Hmm, let me get this straight. A couple of days ago, the workforce crisis was going to be solved by physician assistants. Yesterday, the cavalry charge was being led by pharmacists. Today it’s admin assistants. Oh, and paramedics.

Tomorrow it’ll probably be chiropodists. The day after, nursery nurses. Then lollipop men. Followed by dwarves. And clowns. And subsequently, I dunno, donkeys, amoebae, axolotls and the entire cast of the Minions movie. Culminating, ultimately, in a couple of months time, and I’m pretty certain I’m correct here, with the announcement that all our workload trouble and strife will be over, we can kick back, chill out and put our feet up, because general practice is going to be augmented, resurrected and transformed by yes, you guessed it….fairies. You know, the ones at the bottom of our garden. True, extended role fairies. But fairies, nonetheless. They’d be perfect. Can’t imagine why we didn’t think of this earlier.

If you’ve never before felt that you’ve been experiencing a hilariously surreal phase of our profession’s existence, then, surely, now is your moment. Because it’s becoming increasingly clear that, somehow, we’re living in a nitrous-oxide filled world in which everyone is coming up with brain-addled and temporarily amusing ways of solving the Crisis in Primary Care.

And the key rule in this drug-induced and mind-bent game is not, under any circumstances, to state the bleeding obvious, because this would prick the fantasy bubble and allow the rather harsh and obvious reality to come flooding in.

But sod it, I’m going to. So here goes. The way to ease the sodding workforce crisis in general practice is for us to have more sodding GPs. All this fannying around at the edges is like trying to put out a forest fire with a prostatic piddle.

There. I’ve said it. We need real GPs. Not the fantasy ones that Jeremy Hunt has lost down the back of his sofa. And not the quasi ones who are GP wannabes but never-will-bes. Just actual real frigging GPs who are qualified as GPs, looks like GPs and work like GPs. Cos they’re GPs. They, and only they, will solve the GP workforce crisis.

Genius, isn’t it? But that would mean making the profession less like a huge plate of toxic cack, so it’s never going to happen. Instead, we’ll have to settle for the fairies. Pass me that nitrous oxide again, would you?

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield