So now it’s stage two – stage one, of course, having been a strange kind of industrial action in which, instead of shouting ‘scab’ at those crossing the picket line, we mumbled ‘sorry’ to those we were supposed to be inconveniencing.
Now the BMA has to consider what to do next. There’s clearly no point in repeating the day: it doesn’t matter how many times you hit people with an inflatable hammer, it will never have the same effect as a real one. So, do we escalate the dispute and, if so, how? Tricky, because the BMA finds itself boxed into a corner. It spent most of the Day of Handwringing Apologies bleating on about patient safety, so it has stymied any possible ramping up of action – a pity, really, because nuking the local nursing home or ritually sacrificing a heartsink every day until the government caves in has a real appeal.
So what, then? Rank and file GPs – myself among them – have pitched for non co-operation with the Health Bill, CQC, revalidation, or, preferably, all three. But the response has been that these are activities we need to be involved in, not distanced from, or that the impact wouldn’t be ‘Big Bang’ enough, or whatever.
Which makes me wonder exactly what the BMA might come up with – particularly given that we’re dealing with an organisation with such reserves of imagination and inspiration that, at one point, it was apparently considering a ‘day of working without enthusiasm’.
There must be a good chance that it’ll decide it has achieved nothing other than to amuse politicians and alienate the public. So it may just cough politely, apologise once again for having made such a fuss, and request that everyone pretends it never happened.
In which case, if the profession wasn’t angry before, it will be now. Bring me the ceremonial sword and the co-ordinates of the local nursing home.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield