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Remember why you signed up to study medicine

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Today I did a home visit.

‘So what?’ I hear you cry. Well, this visit was not requested by the patient, a demanding family member, nor by an over-anxious carer. Neither had I initiated the visit to tick a load of outstanding QOF boxes. No, I did this home visit just to see how a very elderly patient of ours, who we have not seen for a long time, was getting on. Without wishing to make you want to vomit, I can honestly say it was one of the most satisfying things I have done for weeks.

Having just had a CQC inspection, the previous month has seen our practice team stressed and exhausted, spending every minute of time we have not been seeing patients wading through a fetid quagmire of protocols and guidelines, and enduring every imaginable bureaucratic instrument of torture inspectors can think up to torment us with. I don’t need to tell you this though – preparing for CQC is a truly miserable experience, up there with unanaethetised root canal surgery as a life experience.

Sometimes we need to find a small islet of green grass, stand quietly, breathe deeply and remember why we wanted to do this

Nobody signed up to do medicine to spend what will amount to several working days writing protocols to justify the direction in which female octagenarians should blow through egg shells, or undertake online learning modules to prove you know how to undertake the most arse-wipingly simple tasks. Speaking for myself, I chose medicine because I was interested in understanding how the body worked, how it went wrong, how to fix it and how to be able to do something useful with these skills at the end. I suspect most other doctors did the same.

The tsumani of mind-destroyingly tedious paperwork the Government is throwing at us is never going away. In fact, it is going to worsen, as their aim is to break our spirit and as we slowly drop one by one, continue to encourage the private-sector cancer to metastasise, and take over and run our surgeries like franchises of a burger chain.

Sometimes we need to climb out of the quagmire and find a small islet of green grass, stand quietly, breathe deeply and remember why we wanted to do this.

You never know, you might get a smile and thank you from a patient to make it all seem worthwhile.

Dr David Turner is a GP in North West London