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Trust me, I’m a GP



This site is intended for health professionals only, as the banner at the top of the home page says. But we know we have lots of non-professional guests on the Pulse website. And that’s fine by me, because this one’s for any patients out there.

Now look, I have to warn you that I’ve had a particularly bad day involving shovelling up several tons of horse manure the hospital dumped on me, ploughing through literally dozens of extras who have some interesting and amusing interpretations of the word ‘emergency’, and digging a hole large enough to bury myself in having read our latest draft accounts, which basically say we’re doing this shovelling, ploughing and digging for pretty much sod all.

Trust me when I tell you this: those politicians are destroying general practice

Yeah, but anyway, thanks for trusting us and all that. Again. Because you do, don’t you? In a YouGov poll of who you trust to tell the truth, we GPs score 87%. Whereas the score for Tory politicians is a measly 22%. Maybe that means 22% of you trust them. Or that you only believe about a quarter of what they say at any one time.

Whatever. Trust me when I tell you this: those politicians are destroying general practice. We’re working stupid hours, being micromanaged to the point of asphyxiation, suffering ridiculous expectations and failing miserably to recruit new blood to give ourselves some breathing space. We’ve kept the ship afloat with goodwill for so long but believe me, we are now drowning. We are going, going, gone.

Those politicians will tell you that they value GPs and they’re doing what they can to ease workload and improve funding. But that’s the 78% of lies; the 22% of truth is when they say they’ve been punishing us for the 2003 contract.

Believe me, that punishment is hitting home. So we may be top off the trust pile, but we’re treated like we’re bottom of the dung heap. If we retire/emigrate/jump professions/shoot ourselves, your next three most trustworthy options are school teachers, police officers and judges. And they may have their merits but, believe me, they’re rubbish at prescribing antidepressants or syringing out ears.

So can I trust you to do something for me? Next time you see a politician, don’t put your trust in them. Put your boot in them.

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