Only genuine understanding from politicians can save the NHS “…it’s clear that they don’t understand our reality.”

Katya Certic reports 27th April in The Guardian: Only genuine understanding from politicians can save the NHS and is supported by Ashley Kirk “Paramedics take 40,000 days off sick with stress as strain on NHS takes toll” (Still the worst organisation in the world for absenteeism)..

NHSreality understands and supports this view wholeheartedly. That’s why I chose the title for the website… And much as NHSreality appreciates it will be unpopular, overt rationing and reducing demand is better than covert rationing and the pretence that we can cover and provide for everything, for everyone, for ever.

One of my local parliamentary candidates knocked on my door recently and asked me what she could do to win my vote. This is what I told her.

My husband is a GP and I’m a paediatric registrar. The NHS is the number one issue affecting us in the coming election (and I say that as an immigrant and new mother who is in the process of buying her first home). If you want to win my vote, you need to show me that you understand our reality.

My husband is a partner in an inner city GP practice. Today, he’s duty doctor, responsible for all the acutely unwell patients who contact the surgery and need a same-day appointment. He left for work at 7.20am for an 8am start and I don’t expect him to be home before 9pm. On Monday, he worked extended hours and was seeing patients until 7.30pm. After he finishes seeing patients tomorrow evening, he’ll be catching up on the paperwork that built up during today’s on-call, which means another 8pm finish, at the earliest. He spent last Saturday doing an extra surgery too.

When we see friends leaving their partnerships because of early burnout and then hear politicians promise to increase GP recruitment by the thousands in the next five years, I can see that they don’t understand our reality. When I see a consultant cry with exhaustion after a 24-hour weekend shift and then see journalists reporting on senior doctors not working weekends, it’s clear that they don’t understand our reality.

The NHS, like every healthcare system in the world, is imperfect, but it is full of passionate, hardworking people who do their utmost every day to provide the best care possible for their patients. There’s plenty about it that could and should be improved, but the people tasked with making those improvements need to have a real understanding of how it works instead of making grand but ultimately empty promises to win votes.

So if you want to win my vote, go out and talk to the people on the frontline. Listen to their concerns and discuss your ideas with them. Show that you’re committed to learning about the issues before legislating on them. The NHS is in trouble and it needs your help, but until you understand our reality, you can’t possibly know how to save it.



Update 26th April:

Margaret McCartney: General practice is still the best job in the world (BMJ 2015;350:h1721 )

Despite political inference, wasteful awareness campaigns, misleading advertisements, poor evidence, and ridiculous media stories, general practice is still the best job in the world. GPs witness the life stories of individuals and families unfolding in real time.

Often you’re a port in a storm; sometimes you offer a hand on the rudder, helping to steer the ship. You don’t perform complex surgery, and the work isn’t glamorous. But it is complex, requiring incisive intelligence—and, if you want glamour, you can wear whatever shoes you like.

Even though you may think you have little to offer, you may be surprised when, years later, your words are quoted back to you with gratitude. You may do home visits on foot in the snow and slip over, and another patient may come outside to offer you his arm…..

Rebecca Jones in the JCPGP opines: Institutional snobbery prevents general practice from being a desirable career choice (10.3399/bjgp15X684937 )

I have to admit that I only considered a career in general practice with reluctance. This now seems ridiculous, as embarking on GP training has been the best decision I have ever made. Throughout medical school and foundation training I was convinced that my career path lay in surgery, however, a last-minute decision, involving the consideration of lifestyle and career progression, meant that I ended up training as a radiologist. But after merely 3 months in the programme I resigned, primarily because of the lack of patient contact as well as my need to engage in meaningful relationships and daily interactions with patients and other healthcare professionals.

So, I was left with a decision. What area of medicine would allow me to fulfil this yearning for patient contact combined with my love of a clinical conundrum? There …

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Paramedics, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

3 thoughts on “Only genuine understanding from politicians can save the NHS “…it’s clear that they don’t understand our reality.”

  1. sharon wilson

    Sack dr geddes cmo jeremy hunt sir keogh dr geddes instructing potassium poisoning many contraindicated drugs malice denied blood tests 10 years hes caused havoc to all.mobbing abuse of funds obeys no law protected by pm s freemason Remove problem people On 27 Apr 2015 20:24, “NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers’ corner for

  2. sharon wilson

    Dr geddes abused millions millions 10 years york scarborough ghost patients fraud jeremy hunt never acted .no austerity ian kennedy qc said himself theres plenty money its misused.look to inconsistancies york press across yorkshire 13 million fraud arrests sept 14 leeds/york partnership tip of iceberg.dr geddes should not be controlling our budget.he left nyypct a financial mess.kevin macleese chairman never attended meeting no one did pct 19 million No one came so john blackie I believe it was went on the fm radio I think he said we inhertied 45 million!forgetting intentionally sha kathryn riddle kept paying debts off and they brought in accountants 95.000!did nothing.jeremy clough went to lincs cause another financial mess musical chairmans della cannings yas contain conceal wrongdoing. Flash lifestyles conferences narcissism any jobs for others?names everywhere!they are and never acted for the public.telemedicine dr geddes 3 million left unsed some in store reckless. On 27 Apr 2015 20:24, “NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers’ corner for the NHS.” wrote: > > Roger Burns – retired GP posted: “Katya Certic reports 27th April in The Guardian: Only genuine understanding from politicians can save the NHS and is supported by Ashley Kirk “Paramedics take 40,000 days off sick with stress as strain on NHS takes toll” (Still the worst organisation in t” >


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