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No more Dr Nice Guy

‘It’s a bit too cold to play golf. Perhaps they’ll go skiing for a few days.’

This is one of the many hilarious online responses to the news that for the first time since I sported satin loon pants and carried prog-rock LPs under my arm on the way to school, the country’s GPs are seriously considering industrial action.

Another expert health economist reckoned that ‘their job could and should be done by a competent district nurse on half their pay – and done better too’.

Other carefully thought-out proposals to rid the NHS of the grasping, self-important morons who do nothing except deny patients access to proper doctors on the odd days when we can be arsed to turn up for work included nationalising general practice and deregulating medical training so the supply of qualified medics would eventually exceed demand.

Faced with this tsunami of ill-informed bullshit, some among us tried hard to redress the balance, pointing out that we pay in over 20% of our income to a pension scheme that remains in credit and that we have to contribute for 40 years before we’re entitled to all the scheme’s benefits.

Nice try guys, but swept away in a maelstrom of envy. How dare we earn £110,000 a year? We’re simply not worth it. If we went on strike, if you believe the vox populi, nobody would even notice.

To quote m’learned friend’s views on the Great British public and their role as jury members: ‘The people have spoken and proved yet again that they’re not capable of understanding.’

Don’t think I’m not tempted to jump on the bandwagon.

I’m itching to unfurl a few dusty banners calling for the workforce to announce wildcat strikes, reinstate secondary picketing and for us all to enjoy

a piece of all that agit-prop Leftist hullabaloo that we missed out on in the 1970s. Brothers! Sisters! We have nothing to lose but our chains. The workers, united, will never be defeated!

But don’t think for a moment that I’m actually going to do any of those things. Because – and here’s the rub – none of you will. There’s no legislation in place to stop us from striking because everybody knows that we’d never go through with it.

‘One out, all out!’ Except of course for A&E services, obstetrics, cardiology, strokes, acute abdomens and anything to do with cancer.

Oh, and paediatrics, because it would only take one dead toddler in a body bag to turn the entire population against us, as opposed to the vocal minority who contribute to comments threads on national newspaper websites.

We could, though, stop trying so hard to be liked. We could pull out of meaningless electorate-pleasing nonsenses like patient participation groups, annual appraisals, 360-degree feedbacks and extended hours.

You could even call it work to rule, if you wanted to. No more pointless letters to housing departments trying to get people into decent homes, no more correspondence to the clerk of the court trying to keep criminals out of jail.

No more letters covering the arses of gyms, dance classes, parachute jump organisers and diet clubs. No more letters confirming that Mr Spiggott is, indeed, a unidexter.

From now on, no more Dr Nice Guy.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex