THE THREE LITTLE GPs AND THE BIG BAD SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HEALTH

Once upon a time there were three young doctors who set out to be GPs.

The first little GP built his practice on enthusiasm.

One day the big bad Secretary of State for Health came knocking on the door of the practice where the first little GP was busy working hard.

‘Little GP, Little GP, let me come in’, said the the big bad Secretary of State for Health.

‘Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin’, replied the first little GP.

‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll bring your practice down’, said the Secretary of State for Health.

And with that the big bad Secretary of State for Health huffed and he puffed and, as a result of years of systemic underfunding of primary care services, he brought the first little GPs practice down. The first little GP had no enthusiasm left to rebuild the practice so he took a job as a barista in a local coffee shop instead.

As well as enthusiasm, the second little GP built his practice on good will.

One day the big bad Secretary of State for Health came knocking on the door of the practice where the second little GP was busy working hard.

‘Little GP, Little GP, let me come in’, said the the big bad Secretary of State for Health.

‘Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin’, replied the second little GP.

‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll bring your practice down’, said the Secretary of State for Health.

And with that the big bad Secretary of State for Health huffed and he puffed and, by introducing more and more red tape which made it increasingly difficult to get on with the job of caring for patients, he brought the second little GPs practice down. The second little GP had no good will left to rebuild the practice so he took a job stacking shelves in a local supermarket instead.

As well as enthusiasm and good will, the third little GP built his practice on evidence based medicine, an exceptional ability to adapt to change and large amounts of pragmatism and common sense.

One day the big bad Secretary of State for Health came knocking on the door of the practice where the third little GP was busy working hard.

‘Little GP, Little GP, let me come in’, said the the big bad Secretary of State for Health.

‘Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin’, replied the third little GP.

‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll bring your practice down’, said the Secretary of State for Health.

And with that the big bad Secretary of State for Health huffed and he puffed and announced that GP surgeries would be open in the evenings and on Saturday mornings for routine care.

But although the practice shook a little, the third little GPs practice stood firm.

The Secretary of State looked unhappy. He knocked on the door of the third little pigs practice again and, in as sweet a voice as he could manage, promised the third little GP lots of extra GPs to help get all the work done.

But no extra GPs were forthcoming and the big bad Secretary of State for Health stopped pretending to be nice.

And he began to huff and puff a second time.

This time he tacitly supported a media campaign making GPs out to be lazy ne’er do wells who were being paid large salaries whilst hiding behind locked doors and refusing to see those patients they were supposed to care for.

And again the third little GPs practice was shaken. But still, even with morale at an all time low, it did not collapse.

So the big bad Secretary of State for Health started to huff and puff for a third time and demanded that, despite the fact that they were working harder than ever before, little GPs across the country must work even harder still and promised to ‘name and shame’ any he felt weren’t pulling their weight.

And again the third little GPs practice was shaken. But still, even though it was on its knees, it did not collapse.

The third little GP carried on working and with the rest of the practice team did as good a job as they possibly could. But, over time, fewer and fewer young doctors decided to become GPs and as those who continued to work came to retire, many sooner than they had planned as the result of the job becoming ever more impossible, General Practice eventually was no longer sustainable and so became a thing of the past.

And the big bad Secretary of State for Health was happy at last.

But everyone else was sad and nobody lived happily ever after.


Other GP related stories:

To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here

To read ‘A Bear called Paddington’, click here

To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here

To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here

To read ‘The Dr Scrooge Chronicles’, click here

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