To show their displeasure of general practice, NHS England did visit an unpaid plague of blood-taking requirements upon primary care. Not just in the surgery, but in the homes of the housebound too; blood-letting in all the homes, in all the towns. And the GPC did beseech them on bended knee, but they did not listen.
On the second day, GPs were frogmarched to their desks to complete social prescribing referral forms to enable their patients to access exercise, foodbanks, smoking cessation clinics, bingo and cut-price tickets to the cinema. The sun set and there was wailing and gnashing on Twitter.
On the third day, there was a plague of biting insects and all across the land GP surgeries were full of patients asking, ‘Do you think it is infected?’ The antibiotic toolkit was found floating in the river. Then the flies came on the fourth day, feeding on the discarded plasters.
On the fifth day, it was National Bring Your Pet to the Doctor Day and the infection control nurse had a nervous breakdown. Again, the GPC did fall on its knees and beg of its masters to offer relief to general practice. But NHS England was unmoving. There were 5 more plagues to be suffered.
‘Let’s see if they ask for an increase in the global sum again’, snorted NHS England.
The next day, there were epidemics of impetigo, infected sebaceous cysts and ingrown toe nails. There was no flucloxacillin left, so the masses all got clarithromycin and diarrhoea. Many suffered when we forgot to tell them to pause their statin.
As if things could not have got any worse, then global warming took a turn for the bizarre as a hailstorm lasting ten hours battered the country. Emergency Departments were overrun and general practice had to act as minor injury units. And the GPs mumbled, ‘Not much change from usual then.’
The GPC did wonder what the last 3 plagues could be. Surely things could not get any worse. Then NHS England unleashed a swarm of locums to work in practices at inflated rates. The spoke to trainees and told them of their life of milk and honey, seeing 12 patients a session then driving home whilst Skyping hands-free for Babylon in their BMWs. And the swarm of locums did wreak havoc with the workforce plans, for apparently there were some.
For the ninth plague, NHS England pulled the plug on the servers of EMIS and SystmOne and computer screens were plunged into darkness. Receptionists scuttled like mice to find Lloyd George cards and printed off appointment lists.
On the final day, the tenth plague was visited upon general practice. The first born child of each family was automatically registered to Push Doctor. ‘Let’s see if they ask for an increase in the global sum again’, snorted NHS England.
Dr Samir Dawlatly is a GP in Birmingham