A retired GP says retiring “.. was like leaving an abusive relationship”

Pulse reports 4th June a Bradford GPs view after retirement. This is rather like the good thing about hitting your head against a brick wall: its nice when it stops. So ‘It was like leaving an abusive relationship’. This is the result of too few doctors for too many patients. Only doctors make a diagnosis and the Scots suggestion of more pharmacists will not help diagnosis and may increase litigation…The public need educating that rationing is by undercapacity, and poor manpower planning, due to the short-term political system, and compounded by denial..

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Dr Daniel Mounce, a former GP in Bradford, says he had to leave the profession due to burnout

‘The public and the politicians pay you to take shit from them,’ my appraiser said, in what he presumably intended as a timely attitude readjustment. But he was wasting his breath.

I had decided to leave my practice after falling apart mid-consultation when a patient threatened to kill herself. The threat itself was mere hyperbole, but it was the last straw.

Leaving general practice has been like leaving an abusive relationship: the shaming and invective, the fear, the unreasonable demands were about driving down self-esteem. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought I could stick it for another 30 years.

I had time to reflect, not without a little bitterness, on what the job had become: the spiralling workload and the cold dread of stepping across the practice threshold each morning. I left general practice last December and started work at a hospice a week later.

I made the change for several reasons. Gone is the relentless pressure to move onto the next patient. I have taken a significant pay cut, but I don’t care, this job at least does not treat me like something you scrape of your shoe. I start at 9am, get a lunch break, and I get to lavish time on my patients.

What would it take to induce me to return to general practice? Even as I ponder the answer, I know it’s futile. The job won’t get any more sustainable with seven-day opening, and a dwindling number of colleagues. No. I’m done. You can keep the excrement.

Dr Daniel Mounce was a GP in Bradford.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, General Practitioners, 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.

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