I love my job, I like seeing patients but I have had enough . . .
If you are a GP or a
hospital doctor who has been in the game for a number of years, or a medical
student or a doctor in training you will have heard, or will hear at some point
during your career, the above statement or something similar from one of your
colleagues. Who makes such a statement?
It is usually a senior
doctor approaching retirement. Note what they say and its implications:
1) I love my job.
Most doctors' do but only
if it is just confined to providing medical care something they were trained
for, have spent years refining as a professional and hopefully getting it
2) I like seeing patients.
Most doctors like to see
patients and discover their as yet undiagnosed illnesses. It is challenging and
rewarding even though we know we sometimes cannot always treat our true enemy
3) I have had enough.
Have had enough of what?
Well lots of things each in
isolation a mere irritant but when such crap as appraisal, revalidation,
protocols, NICE, QOF, tick box medicine not good quality patient care, care
pathways, CQC, pathetic targets, yet another rearranging of deck chairs on the
NHS Titanic called "reform" etc.etc. get in the way of and make
treating patients harder not easier then something has to give.
An analogy we heard of is
that of the bamboo curtain. A single piece of bamboo is easy enough to snap and
walk through. But if you have many thousands of such pieces of bamboo arranged
around you row upon row of retarded centrally determined government policy,
locally enforced by PCT morons over many years that are medically of no use to
patients you will realize why GPs and hospital doctors cannot wait to retire.
Some retire early and use
their reduced pension to support themselves and also work as locums where they
get paid better to do less and avoid the administrative burden that hampers
their provision of good care.
Such statements are not
said the day before they leave. Often it is a few years before they do so and
by that time they have lost the urge to resist the institutionized retardation
that increasingly gets in the way of good quality patient care. So they quietly
plod on shrugging their shoulders as the next layer of bureaucratic retardation
comes along counting the days until they can get out.
Most will yearn for a
return to the past and almost all are fearful of the future for they know that
at some point they will become patients and they like not what they see being
done to their patients but they are powerless to change it. They can only
protest but no one listens for the power is no longer with the clinicians.
In a younger doctor people
would call this burnout but what would you call this pre retirement? Is a form
of Stockholm syndrome?
We have seen it many times
at ND Central over the years and also when we worked in hospital. It is like
looking at a brightly burning Olympic torch and watching the flame go out. The
torch is still there but the light has gone out.
The doctors' job is no
longer an inspiration it is a once proud inspiration which when they retire
will be put out onto NHS eBay for the next highest bidder for the job who will
go exactly the same way given time.
Praise be to the Party for
ensuring that highly experienced medics both in hospital and general practice
can't wait to get out. It is a sad reflection of how little NHS society values
its doctor's, and other workers' experience in the work place not by making it
better but by making it harder for them to do what they are good at.
And the Party wants to make
people work longer? Bet you that retirement on ill health rates due to mental
illness go up.
Contact Northern Doc:
Northern Doc was once a blog originally written by a group of GPs in Northernshire and expressed their experiences and frustrations of working in today's NHS. The pieces were compiled at social meetings after work and published anonymously in a once free society. Following the Government's Medical Council clamp down on freedom of thought, speech and expression by doctors and our belief that the views of a few doctors DO NOT represent the views of the profession as a whole their views will now be written by and published by a journalist who has previously contributed to the blog by virtue of social ties. Any inference that the word Doc means a doctor is now purely coincidental. This is as of the 22 April 2013.