Maybe there really is just a sense of futility about the whole thing. Maybe it would be easier to sit back and let the powers that be take control and dismantle our health service, transforming it into whatever they feel is the best for the British public. My issue with this argument is that it is not for the government to decide for us. As many of the fantastic speakers at Crash Call reminded us, this is OUR NHS. We pay for it and we use it, so we should have a say in its future.
Would you turn down a £20,000 Golden Hello to move to a part of the country that was recruiting for your job? If it were a newspaper that were short of journalists, I wonder would the writers of these articles stand on their high morals and ignore such an offer? I often want to ask the people who complain about our pay, what they think a GP should earn? What is an acceptable income to them? After all, I'm frequently reminded they pay my wages. Patients feel entitled to question my pay, and have done so in consultations. I am so taken aback by this, I am never able to answer them properly. Perhaps at the end of the consultation I should ask if they feel I have earned my pay for that particular 10 minutes? Did they get the antibiotics they wanted for their cold? Or if not, should I hand them a cheque as they leave?
There are 10 appointments left for today. There are 10,000 patients. My three colleagues are here all day, but one can't help with the home visits. They have a meeting about commissioning services in the local area. A brilliant idea from the government. But there is no time or money allocated for them to attend this meeting. So that means there are just three of us. At 8.10 there are 20 patients waiting for me to ring them back. At 8.30 there are 53.
We are currently in an professional environment where research-driven process is not being balanced by common sense. Even with all its failings there should always be a place for the dissenting voice born through experience to keep in check the march of the technocrat born through academic research.
I am an apologist for general practice. There, I have declared my bias. Despite having been a GP for over 30 years I remain in awe of my colleagues and the way that they continue to carry out an incredibly difficult job in an increasingly onerous environment. Almost without question, all my peers entered a career in medicine driven by a vocation to help their fellow man...
Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), says in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, that patients should be more pro-active about their health and 'pushier' with their GPs. How realistic is his view, and where does our responsibility towards ourselves as patients start and that of a medical professional end?
By 2020, 40% of healthcare will be accessed online. That's the prediction of Professor Clare Gerada, until recently the chair of the Royal College of GPs. Her claims have generated much debate, which crystallised around one central objection - the argument that online health services are not inclusive.