This weekend I have had to read yet another round of angry social media comments from fellow GPs about a piece in the 'popular' press. I never wanted to deride my colleagues in public, but as our professional representatives seem to be agreeing with most of the GPs, I have to take the opportunity to speak out. If this offends you, then I'm not sorry.
When I was choosing my career, top of my list were pay and the ability to work as few hours as possible. I did my research and quickly discovered that training as a doctor, especially a GP, would fulfil these requirements. I could earn up to £665,000 a year, I could work hours which were organised for the convenience of doctors, not patients, and I would never need to work evenings or weekends. Little did I realise then what I do now.
Had I known that GPs were, of course, the root of all the problems in the NHS, with their daily failures to diagnose cancer, whilst simultaneously over-referring for all cancers, and ridiculous ideas that patients may share some responsibility for their own health, I would have instantly dismissed this career option.
Instead I found myself working for the hundred, probably thousands of surgeries which are failing their patients. I was out on the streets, inviting half a million illegal immigrants to register and use the entire NHS free of charge.
I mistakenly thought that the many qualifications and exams I had done, plus the yearly GP appraisal and revalidation with the GMC kept me up to date in my knowledge and safe to practice. How wrong I was! I naively worked alongside foreign doctors who had been trained overseas, and were highly likely to be struck off. I was clearly not trained, or equipped to be treating patients.
I foolishly thought of having a family, and as I was entirely unwilling to devote the time and effort to my job, I went ahead. I wanted to stay at home and work part time, caring for my children. Thankfully my husband reminded me of the fact that my salary was quite sufficient to afford quality childcare, which instantly removed any maternal feelings and meant I was able to return to work full time.
I had just about begun to reconcile myself to this myriad of failures in my chosen profession and colleagues, when there was an outpouring of negativity towards a whistle blower from within the NHS. I shan't name the individual for fear of reciprocal attacks which I'm sure will be just as arrogant, vicious and full of biliousness. I admit that I had always thought whistleblowing was directly related to wrongdoing at work, or engaging in unlawful activity.
However I was soon corrected when what I had previously thought of as personal opinion pieces, were clearly described as whistleblowing. The contempt shown for this individual's free speech was shameful. This obviously removes any right to reply or express a contradictory opinion from his detractors, who do not enjoy the same privilege of being a protected whistle-blower. The fact that condemnation of these opinion pieces, sorry, whistleblowing pieces came from all medical backgrounds, from Consultants, GPs, Psychiatrists and trainees is to be entirely disregarded as coincidental. It is clearly not reflective of the fact there was any wrong doing.
So in summary, stop complaining about the righteous beam being shone on our over-paid, under-qualified, resource-draining, lazy profession. Buck up, ditch your children, avoid the immigrants and get on with your work and off the golf course.