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This is my first blog as editor of Pulse, and it is fair to say it has caused me sleepless nights. Pulse has been the voice of GPs for more than 50 years, and to take on that responsibility is daunting. Reading the – thoroughly deserved – comments on Nigel’s final blog last week hammered this home. It feels a little like replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.
But then I thought what a dream our readers are for an editor; smart, engaged, passionate and loud. And also aware of the solutions to the problems besetting their profession, but with very few people in power willing to listen.
So it occurred to me – all we need to continue to do is listen and amplify your voice. Continue to highlight the effect of year-on-year real-terms funding cuts does to the profession and the effects of a dwindling workforce at a time of rising demand, and the impact it has on GPs’ workload.
We will carry on exposing the pointlessness of tick-box regulation that does nothing more than cause unnecessary anxiety and workload on practices, and highlighting the effects of all these factors on the mental health of GPs, who are regularly having to work 12-hour days just to meet demand. All while knowing that, even within this environment, a mistake may lead to a GMC investigation or even worse.
And I can promise that we continue to speak as the voice of all GPs: Scottish GPs who are waiting to see the impact of the new contract; Welsh GPs, who are having to give up their contracts; and Northern Irish GPs, who are facing conditions so bad that they are considering leaving the NHS altogether.
Pulse will continue to speak up for the oft-forgotten locum GPs, who are considered a ‘burden’ by the NHS, salaried GPs who face the same potential burnout as their colleagues, and the next generation of GPs, who are just as passionate about the future of the profession if our ‘trainees special’ is anything to go by.
And we will continue to investigate and shine a light on all these issues – and any new ones that may change the shape of the profession in the future.
Knowing that we have a readership that will help us – and criticise us when we are wrong – makes the life of this newbie far easier.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter