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‘We don’t have any more time, there is no time left, it’s all gone…’

My New Year’s resolution is to stop writing blogs/columns moaning about the DoH, NICE, CQC et al because a) they’re like shooting fish in a barrel and b) I’m worried you might get bored.

On the other hand, it’s still only December, so sod it.

This week, I’d like to highlight  the common thread running through the following:

  1. NICE’s decision that GPs should opportunistically assess and correct, as necessary, the exercise habits of every adult patient
  2. CQC’s announcement that it will give practices 48 hours notice before a visit, and that we GPs need not block out the whole of our day, though we should leave some time to speak to inspectors 
  3. The DoH announcement that our contract revision will require us to continue doing everything, all the time, only quicker and more of it, and for less money.

And that common thread is this: WE DON’T HAVE ANY MORE TIME, THERE IS NO TIME LEFT, IT’S ALL GONE. My consultations are so pressurised that they make my brain implode, and my average day already stretches beyond the event horizon.

As for the CQC’s notion that we only have to find ‘some time’ for a chat, with 48hours notice: that’s quite funny, as we have NO TIME (see above) but not as funny as the idea that they obviously really did consider pitching for a whole day with the same forewarning, which is so hilarious that I find myself sticking needles under my nails to stop myself laughing.

But worse even than the fact that, like an egg timer with no sand, we have actually physically RUN OUT OF TIME, is the implied insult that we GPs are, in fact, currently underemployed. Yes, we’re twiddling our thumbs looking for extra contractual work to do, looking for other things like exercise promotion to slip into our consultations, looking for cosy chats about protocols and procedures with people wielding clipboards.

All of which means either that you people making these NICE/CQC/DoH decisions have absolutely no idea what life is really like in general practice at present, or you do, and you’re simply trying to drive us to some kind of despairing submission. I fear the latter, and I fear you’re succeeding.

Either way, how about making your New Year resolution – just for a moment, just for the time it takes us to catch our breath – to shut the f**k up?

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