GP Occupational Health – too little too late. Lack of trust may ensure the service is ignored.. Say goodbye to continuity of care…

Over the years of GP health decline, the profession has been asking for Occupational Health. Now that “trust” has gone, and the fear factor is overlying everything we do (including free speech) it would be better for an independent HR body to provide the Occupational health.  In 2014 it might have been accepted: Time running out for doctor health service (BMA News) – A GP has warned his doctor-patients could be the victims of a ‘postcode lottery’ following the withdrawal of occupational health services funding. It is the toxic environment  which leads to the loss of altruism, and the ways to protect yourself are go part time, emigrate, retire, or change career.

Just like “exit Interviews”, the culture of fear will overcome the duty of candour. Honesty about individual GPs health is important, and in a “trusting” and healthy organisation this would be appropriate. The shape of the job The shape of a jobensures that more and more stressed GPs will go part time. Continuity of care used to be an important element of General practice, and for dying patients especially it was much appreciated. Will the shape of the job now, continuity in palliative and terminal care, especially in ones own home, has already disappeared in cities, and is rapidly going in all but the most rural areas. The demands need to be reduced (carrot and stick) and the constraints need to be reduced whilst we increase the numbers in training to cope…. this takes time., so its going to get worse before it gets better, and that’s only if we have political honesty.

In GPonline Neil Roberts reports 4th April 2016: GPs in Wales secure new occupational health services

From April all GPs will be able to access the same OH services from local health boards as directly employed NHS staff, including time with an occupational health consultant and a range of wellbeing and health services. …

He also reports Maureen Baker, RCGP Chair, on 11th April: GPs should take regular breaks to ensure patient safety, warns RCGP

‘Rising patient demand, excessive bureaucracy, fewer resources, and a chronic shortage of GPs are resulting in worn-out doctors, some of whom are so fatigued that they can no longer guarantee to provide safe care to patients.

‘GPs are currently seeing too many patients a day to be safe and at the end of a long day in clinic, we will still have a mountain of paperwork to get through.
Patient safety: ‘It is fine now and again to have a “really busy day”, but general practice is currently relentless and this is a threat to our own health and our patients’ safety.

‘GPs are at breaking point and tired GPs are more likely to make mistakes – be it a paperwork error or, in the worst cases, missing a potential symptom.

Copperfield, with panache comments in Pulse 14th April 2016: ‘A toiletted doctor is a safer doctor’: my alternative campaign for GP rest breaks

I feel bad knocking the RCGP. They mean no harm. But really. First there was the campaign for 15 minute appointments. Then there was the clarion call that it’s never been a better time to be a GP. And now this: ‘A rested GP is a safer GP’ poster campaign thing…..

..So if we’re going to have a poster campaign, let’s go for gritty realism instead. Here’s my suggestion, feel free to photocopy and plaster your waiting room wall with it.

Your GP’s right to defecate should always come first!

dirty toilet 330x330px

dirty toilet 330x330px

Train drivers, pilots and lorry drivers are contractually allowed to have at least one dump a day.

Your doctor has not had time to open his/her bowels for three weeks now. This is Jeremy Hunt’s fault. If your GP shows signs of distress during the consultation, stand well back.

Remember, a toiletted doctor is a safer doctor.

Support our campaign at

Mind you, if anyone’s really full of crap, it isn’t us GPs…

NHS cancer bonuses ‘are abhorrent, risky and misguided’ – altruism lost

Making doctors stay….. in a neglected NHS. Letters in the Telegraph. Altruism destroyed early..

Altruism and The Trainers Workshop

Which party espouses the market philosophy, and then tries to subvert individual response?

A third of A&E doctors leaving NHS to work “in a non toxic environment” abroad

Pulse links:

GMC to spare doctors with mental health problems from a full investigation

NHS looking to bring in GPs from India to alleviate recruitment crisis

BMA: Indian GP scheme shows recruitment is ‘collapsing into chaos’


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

1 thought on “GP Occupational Health – too little too late. Lack of trust may ensure the service is ignored.. Say goodbye to continuity of care…

  1. Pingback: It’s the shape of the GP’s job that needs to change. The pharmacist will see you now: overstretched GPs get help…The fundamental ideology of the Health Services’ provision. Funding of this type admits 30 years’ manpower plann

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