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to think GP's have a very demanding job?

(50 Posts)
LDNmummy Thu 01-Mar-12 23:25:13

Watching Question Time and there are very differing views on what being a GP is like. David Starkey (what a twunt) seems to think it is 'cushty', while another panelist disagree's.

I always thought GP's work in a demanding job, but don't have experience or insight into it.

I sometimes think it must be like being a teacher, as it is not overtly demanding and stressful like jobs placed within a large hospital for instance, and people do not see what goes on behind the scenes so the stresses and strains that come with the job, can be overlooked by the general public, IYSWIM.

Helltotheno Thu 01-Mar-12 23:47:50

I'd say it's the cushiest number on the medical spectrum anyway....

Scarletbanner Thu 01-Mar-12 23:48:53

I think David Starkey's life is cushier, tbh

PomBearAtTheGatesOfDoom Thu 01-Mar-12 23:55:16

I think that some GPs are worth their weight in gold, and must be extremely stressed because they care, and put so much into being a good GP. It must be soul destroying when they are just under so much pressure that they cannot devote more than a few minutes to each appointment, and they must worry about misdisgnosis and suchlike. Then others seem to be "in it for the money" or prestige or something and make it quite plain that they consider the patients to be a nuisance, and are if not negligent, then downright careless.
They are in something of a "position of power" over people, and some of them seem to take advantage of this. If they could all be "Good Uns" it would be lovely, but it will never happen.
The comparison with teaching is a good one, a good teacher can make such a difference to someone's life for the better, whereas a bad teacher can do the opposite. Same thing with a GP, although teachers aren't usually in a position to have someone die if they fuck up.
I've had the misfortune to have had a bad GP changed now to better one and I did die, thanks to him telling me there was "nothing wrong with me except I was fat" and to "go away and don' come back until you lose 3 stone" confused and am only here to be bitter tell the tale because of three wonderful paramedics and their little zapper machine.

carernotasaint Thu 01-Mar-12 23:55:44

David Starkey is a twat of the highest order. Did anyone watch him on Dream School last year. Tells you all you need to know. the presenter of QT should of called him on his sexist views. On Dream School last year DS was totally upstaged by a young lad called Connor who was fab.

McHappyPants2012 Thu 01-Mar-12 23:55:58

could easy be a gp...every child who comes in has a viral infection

fuzzysnout Fri 02-Mar-12 06:42:22

Yeah, good comparison between teachers & GPs as they're both jobs that 90% of the population are experts on & could do better than the people who actually do the jobs.

I think both have their own unique stresses like many jobs, although of course teachers help 30 people at a time & not just one. Oh & there's the 70k difference in salary... wink

lottiegb Fri 02-Mar-12 06:53:23

Well, hopefully a GP will come along and answer.

I know a couple and would say that, even though most appointments are about the same old dreary things, it is a very full-on job, in the way teaching is, as you can't have an off day and hide in the office, you have to perform in public every day and all day. There is the added responsibility of making life and death and major 'quality of life' decisions.

The GP contract did get much cushier a few years ago, with shorter hours, out of hours services sub-contracted and, potentially but varying a lot, as they have to pay their staff form their budget, more pay. There is a widespread view that that deal was miscalculated in their favour and they are now the best paid GPs in Europe, though the figures quoted never take account of the staff and running costs, so it's hard to know what their take home pay actually is, I don't doubt it's generally high though. That's why their job is perceived to be cushy in comparison with other doctors, who do longer hours in hospitals and are still on call out of hours.

JoandMax Fri 02-Mar-12 07:19:03

My sister is a GP and admits she has an easy life - she leaves the house at 8.30am every day, has an hour and hour at home at lunch and is home by 6pm at latest every night. She works 3.5 days a week and earns near on £90k (she's a partner in the practice). If she wants extra money she does a few out of hours sessions, which are completely optional.

She used to really care and worry but honestly now she does it for the money, easy hours and loves to play the 'doctor' card - prone to arrogance and thinking she's something special. I do love my sister but her attitude stinks at the moment!

I don't think all GPs are like this, mine is very caring and conscientious and hardworking but I'd bet there are a lot like my sister around......

QueenSconetta Fri 02-Mar-12 07:27:37

I think, like in everything, there are some who are great and give their all and some who clearly CBA and want an easy life. Such is life.

gamerwidow Fri 02-Mar-12 07:29:04

I think GPs do have a demanding job and like any other profession some are better than others at meeting the challenge.
Yes they sometimes get a lot of money for short hours but they have to have a huge breadth of knowledge which constantly needs updating. In addition to this they have to be competant at pastoral care and have an understand of business and commissioning.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 02-Mar-12 07:35:12

I know a lot of GPs, my mum is one.

Most are hardworking and conscientious, and many do not earn the kind of money that Starky was talking about last night. There are some twats as there are in all walks of life.

Jo - I do not recognise your sister's life, it bears no comparison to my mother's when she was working. She earnt less, worked longer hours - and WTF is a lunch hour!?

flipflapdoodle Fri 02-Mar-12 07:54:19

I am a GP. I love my job but I don't think it's easy. I get huge job satisfaction, it's a real privilege to work with my patients through the good bits and bad bits of their lives. I enjoy the challenge of constant learning and the fact that I will never 'know it all'. I enjoy the diversity - yes there are a lot of coughs and colds but also chronic disease management, palliative care, mental health problems, gynae, minor surgery and some very poorly patients.

However, please don't believe the newspaper figures about earnings. I am paid well, more than the average wage, but no where near the figures quoted in the media.

I work about 55 hours a week 'part time'. Left home at 6.45am yesterday and got home at 9.20pm. Had a mug of soup at my desk for lunch. So I don't recognise the short hours described by JoandMax. I will probably be going in this weekend to catch up on the boring admin stuff that there isn't time for in the week.

GP's have to manage risk - Yes we see a lot of children with viral illnesses but we have the challenge of spotting the few very poorly children in amongst them, we also have to live with ourselves if we don't get it right (and we are only human, we WILL make mistakes).

I love my job, I feel very strongly about trying to provide good family medicine but don't doubt I fall short at times. The constant GP bashing in the media is disheartening and generally speaking very misleading.

JoandMax Fri 02-Mar-12 08:15:29

She works in a small, quiet practice and does the bare minimum - probably also helps she's in a relationship with the boss!

She's cut down and cared less as the years go by, I feel sorry for her patients really, they deserve better. Sadly I doubt she's the only one like it

cory Fri 02-Mar-12 09:07:33

Our GP had a heart attack last year: he has basically been killing himself trying to keep the practice afloat and being there for everybody, from early morning to late at night. And CAHMS and SS say he is the one who always turns up for meetings involving his patients. A lovely man- but I do hope he looks after himself: we can't afford to lose a doctor like that.

ripsishere Fri 02-Mar-12 09:17:51

I socialise with three GPs and have one different one as my GP.
IME, they are knowledgable and caring. One is obviously in it for the money, but fair play to her. She works very hard.
My own GP is outstanding. I can't remember ever having had a bad GP except when I was a child which was a long time ago.
GPs mainly live outside the area they practice in. I've been in situations with a friend when someone approached them, in a shopping centre and asked for their blood results.

Pastabee Fri 02-Mar-12 09:18:42

YANBU. I was disgusted by some of his comments. My good friend is a GP and I guess she does have it easier than when she was a junior but she still works hard for much less than the minimum £100k Starkey quoted.

My BIL is a renal consultant and he doesn't work many more hours than she does for a lot more money, prestige etc.

babybarrister Fri 02-Mar-12 09:19:19

current GP contracts are v cushty and everyone who works in the NHS knows that as others have said. hospital doctors are extremely jealous of the GP pay ....

yes I entirely accept that GPs work hard but so do many people

as a divorce lawyer I have seen what they get paid ..... v few get less than £100k grin

iseenodust Fri 02-Mar-12 09:20:36

JoandMax I can name a handful of GP's like your sister and they're not all female. As others have said there are all types in all professions. I think it is full on when they are working but the working hours are fewer than other higher qualified roles for similar money. I think many GP's would get a serious shock if they were to become 'proper' employees of the NHS as opposed to self-employed.

Cheeseandbiscuits Fri 02-Mar-12 09:23:33

GP here.
I leave the house at 7-730 and returned at 7.30 last night.
I earn much much less than the 90-100k quoted.

My husband is an A&E doc, his job is very different. He works night shifts etc but his actual hours worked a week are often very similar to mine.

You always hear about the bad GPs and never the good ones!

ArthurPewty Fri 02-Mar-12 09:28:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsEricBana Fri 02-Mar-12 09:30:25

An extremely lovely friend of mine was a gp - very kind, caring, conscientious woman - she is now a palliative care doctor. I asked her why she stopped being a gp and she said it was just too stressful as "100 people a week will come in with a headache and it's up to me to spot which one has a brain tumour". Gps really are at the front line and must be very hard, as well as dealing with malingerers etc. Having said that, other jobs are also hugely stressful and pay far less.

lesley33 Fri 02-Mar-12 09:34:19

flipflapdoodle - I have some chronic health problems and a fab GP. Anyone I meet who has a good GP - and there are many - sing their praises frequently. Sadly you may not know this, but I think patients and especially those with chronic conditions, really do value and appreciate a great GP. And I am sure your patients will value you.

misslinnet Fri 02-Mar-12 09:34:34

I think it's a demanding job, and that most of them work very hard.

And please bear in mind that David Starkey's a historian, so he's not likely to have any experience of what working as a GP is like.

GPs need to have & maintain a wide breadth of medical knowledge as patients with just about any medical condition could walk through the door. And they have to be performing at their best all the time. As well as dealing with the knowledge that if they mess up, someone could die.

Most don't earn salaries as high as the ones the media tend to quote either.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 02-Mar-12 09:37:01

GPs do have a cushty number at the expense of the tax payer. A friends brother is one (partner in a practice, earning over £100k, lovely area of Devon, not some inner-city stress zone). When the revised contracts came out under the last government they sub-contracted all out of hours care (as most [all?] GPs did) and their practice clubbed together some of their extra funds to employ a locum so that they can all work part-time to boot. I work in the City and to earn 6 figures there you really need to sell your soul, cancel holidays, change plans, always be on call in addition to the extremely long hours and weekend working (the "value" of these respective roles is the subject of a whole other thread though wink). For the money they earn they really don't have a difficult time - especially when compared to their colleagues of similar qualification working in hospitals.

Oh and don't GPs just act as a referral service? Something wrong with your ears? Refer to ENT specialist. Found a lump? Refer for biopsy. Feeling depressed? Refer for counselling. Oh and occasionally prescribe anti-biotics when you can be sure it's not just "a virus".

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