All I can do is the best for my patients - when they finally get to see me - and keep saying sorry on behalf of all NHS staff, for the betrayal of their trust
Dr Zoe Norris is an NHS GP, who works in Yorkshire. She has written extensively on NHS pressures in both hospital and general practice, as well as on mental health and burnout among healthcare professionals. As well as her clinical work, she is a GP appraiser, lectures for NB Medical GP Hot Topics, and represents salaried and locum GPs at national level. All views are personal.
There is no equality between the provision for physical and mental health. None at all, and a promise to review legislation pours scorn on the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer every day. What mental health needs, is funding. What mental health needs is to be taken seriously and not used as the latest political fad. It needs all those involved to put their #headstogether and challenge this shameful waste of resources.
22/06/2017 08:51 BST
In 2017, work is a constant battle. There are not enough doctors or nurses to see the patients. I don't know what the future of general practice is. No young doctors want to join the profession, and my colleagues are leaving in droves. In the last month, 5 GP friends have left medicine entirely. Another has left the country, feeling no longer welcome as a European after the Brexit vote. We are recruiting doctors from abroad to plug the gap; we are shortening training to get doctors through faster and fill the empty spaces; we are inventing new roles to patch up the crumbling workforce. We are desperate.
28/04/2017 15:56 BST
I haven't blogged for a while. The reason will shock our esteemed Prime Minister. It's because I've been a bit busy - see Mrs May, I'm a GP. So waking up on Saturday to hear your briefing to the press suggesting that I am to blame for the current crisis in the NHS, and that you will 'order' me and all my colleagues to be open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm, made me pick up my laptop.
15/01/2017 18:52 GMT
This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It has never been about pay; it has been about fairness. It has never been about wanting weekends off; it has been about patient safety. It has never been about 7/7 working; it has been about a failing, underfunded NHS that no-one in the government is willing to acknowledge.
02/09/2016 10:52 BST
In all honesty, I mentally switched off a few months ago just after campaigning began. I am an NHS GP. The outcome of this referendum will have a huge impact on my daily life, my work, and my children's future. But I have to put my hands up and confess - I'm a doctor, and I don't get the EU referendum.
15/06/2016 17:15 BST
I lied to a patient today. I didn't feel good about it, but I didn't know what else to say. It was a man I was visiting at home, let's call him Stan. An elderly patient who is normally in excellent health and rarely comes to the surgery. He was down for a home visit to check his chest after being unwell for a few days. Before I went out I looked at his notes, and saw we hadn't seen him for a good six months. Quite uncommon for a lot of older patients. He isn't a smoker, isn't on much in the way of medicine, and had rung the surgery last week. The notes were from my colleague. They were brief...
18/04/2016 21:33 BST
As a nation we are also rubbish at knowing when we are constipated. While most people know that not having a poo for two weeks and sitting for hours on end straining is constipation, there are thousands of people who don't realise that their tendency to fart, and have massive poos can equally be a sign.
02/03/2016 17:21 GMT
Mr Cameron and Mr Hunt - maybe it's time you took responsibility for this horrific mess. Turn to the NHS staff. Turn to the patients and relatives. Apologise, say you got it wrong and let's fix the most important thing this country has. You forget when the NHS is broken, it isn't just about headlines and careers, it's about lives. People are dying because of you. Time to stand up and face the music.
10/02/2016 12:01 GMT
I am a doctor, trained for 10 years, highly qualified. But I wouldn't be half the doctor I am today without nurses. From my first days on the wards as a medical student, with no idea about the human body, nurses have helped me. To a few days ago when I didn't know which dressing was best to put on a leg wound, nurses have helped me. This is a small, unworthy tribute to all the hard working nurses in the NHS. It involves a lot of cups of tea...
07/01/2016 10:09 GMT
Any headlines and any politician that says patients will not be safe during a strike is wrong. There will be disruption and annoyances - that is the whole point of a strike. But there will be the most experienced doctors providing hands on care for the patients that need it.
19/11/2015 09:23 GMT
Last weekend, 20,000 junior doctors from across the country marched in protest at the proposed changes to their contracts. It's becoming increasingly clear from the press coverage and the softening of the Governments stance, that they are realising the battle for this is not going the Department of Health's way. Suddenly on the day of the protest, the rhetoric changed...
19/10/2015 22:03 BST
You broke my heart today. You didn't realise. We were playing together, sat on the floor with your little sister, you holding one of your Elsa dolls. You turned to me and said "Mummy, when I grow up I want to be a doctor". I asked you why, and you said "So I could go to work with you Mummy, then I would see you more". That was the moment.
29/09/2015 08:38 BST
Your safety is being put at risk. My greatest fear is that nothing changes, the NHS slowly crumbles, stretching more and more, doctors too tired to concentrate, patient care suffering, safety put at risk. You as a patient know this from your experiences every day. If the NHS is going to survive for the future, all of us - patients, public, professionals and politicians, need to accept that it isn't working. We need an honest discussion about its future. We need to start talking.
27/08/2015 18:10 BST
I was politically ambivalent about the general election. Like a lot of NHS staff, I was torn between knowing that things were bad in the health service, especially in general practice, but equally knowing that a change of government would inevitably mean some sort of re-branding, reorganisation and changes of priorities. I knew an NHS on its knees already wouldn't cope with that. When the result came in, it was going to be more of the same. No massive changes, just slogging on trying to get the government to listen. I was totally wrong.
07/08/2015 13:41 BST
A truly seven day NHS is something we should aspire towards. I don't disagree with that. But as with everything else, it is the timescale and funding which is wholly unrealistic and will inevitably lead to harm to patients. Can he not remember the waiting time breaches of last winter? Is he ignoring the GP practices closing across the country? This is not doctors wanting a lifestyle choice. Our first role is to act in our patients best interests, as an advocate for them. Why does Mr Hunt refuse to listen to the profession, both at national and grass roots level? Why is he hell bent on chasing headlines and not on improving care and patient safety?
16/07/2015 21:53 BST
The "one-size fits all" world of Mr Hunt's metropolitan life, with seven-day access to a GP or nurse you've never met, to treat the minor self-limiting illness that has been irritating you since that morning, will not help these patients. They need to see professionals who are experienced, highly skilled, with the time and resources to care for them.
05/07/2015 23:34 BST
Dear Mr Hunt, thank you so much for your kind speech detailing the new deal for GPs that you announced today. We have been waiting with baited breath to see what you would come up with. Well, you didn't disappoint. You fulfilled all the expectations of vague headline filling promises - 5000 more GPs, 5000 other clinicians. I notice you sneaked Physician Assistants into that last bit with Pharmacists and Nurses, gently implying that they are a proper job with a role in the UK healthcare system. Nicely done. You kept a lid on the time-scale - clever. I'm sure we will have 5000 more GPs over the next 50 years, but it's minor detail.
19/06/2015 17:37 BST
At the minute many NHS staff are compromising their own health so they can provide basic patient care. Your workforce is exhausted and demoralised, and being told to make £22billion of efficiency savings in a setting already pared to the bone. I see these staff as my patients. When the stress gets too much, they come to me. Usually exhausted, often in tears. I feel like shaking you Mr Cameron. You absolute hypocrite. How dare you?
08/06/2015 09:01 BST
Monday brought the first announcements on the NHS from David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt since the election - although as John Humphrys rightly pointed out in his interview with Mr Hunt, they have been doing the job for five years already. Greeted with trepidation by NHS staff, the announcements outlined some key policies. Consequently I am disillusioned, sad and angry, in equal measures... I'm no expert Mr Cameron, but I think your business plan is shocking. It is going to fail. It is going to push the NHS to collapse, and we are already teetering dangerously on the brink. Push it into the hands of private providers. Which the cynic in me says is your endgame.
18/05/2015 20:25 BST