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The wafer-thin mint moment

Remember the wafer-thin mint moment? You know, Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, when Mr Creosote, having stomached an umpteen-course meal, is tripped into a spectacular emesis by a wafer-thin mint?

Well, I believe that, as a profession, we have reached that wafer-thin mint moment. This struck me as I read yesterday’s news about the Government’s plans to impose a series of contractual changes.

These include phasing out MPIG, yet more QOF targets, increased QOF thresholds and tightened deadlines, and the need to re-earn recycled QOF money through new initiatives like dementia care and online services. I haven’t read the small print, but I imagine there’s stuff in there about self-flagellation and handing over our kids’ pocket money, too.

The thing is, I was under the impression that I was already at breaking point.  Current workload is absurd, take home pay is falling and let’s not forget that we also have CQC, revalidation and commissioning to look forward to. I simply can’t face further change and more work.

That’s why I feel like Mr Creosote. The only difference is, this isn’t a wafer thin mint, is it? It’s a high calorie supplement of hard labour, dysfunction and despair force fed down my throat via a bloody great plastic funnel. Even megadoses of Stemetil won’t stop what’s coming. I can only hope that when the eruption happens, I’m standing in front of Jeremy Hunt.

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