The NHS is 69 today! Let's give it the treatment it deserves

Dr Charlotte Ferriday, a GP in the NHS was asked by a colleague for recommendations of how to encourage ex-GPs back into full time employment. This is her response. 


I was a partner at a GP surgery until the end of April 2015 - I was loved by patients and staff and highly valued by my colleagues. I am a patient centred, evidence led and cost effective doctor. I left after being off work with burnout for 8 months due to work pressure - 17 hour days and drastic service cuts! I thought I would never get back to being a GP.

Slowly with help from our excellent Occupational Health Service (now cut and replaced by an impersonal telephone number in London) I regained my sense of worth as a GP. I now work very part-time mainly as a locum.

What we need to happen to tempt people like me back to a permanent role and also retired GPs, along with those who have had a long break from GP due to child care etc, is a different government with different health and other policies, stopping the corrupt revolving door between private providers and private healthcare organisations and MPs.

We need one that gives the NHS the funding it needs along with all the public sector (as was - now often privatised) services such as social care, probation, drugs and alcohol services, CMHT (Community Mental Health Teams), CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and education etc, etc. All of which have had massive budget cuts under the Tories and they impact hugely on our caseload.

We need one that will get rid of the unnecessary and terribly expensive internal market.

We need one that will buy back PFI contracts from struggling hospitals because Government debt is the cheapest interest rate possible and PFI deals have been sold on so many times that costs have rocketed. We need ALL the profit driven private contracts removed from the usually tax dodging companies and brought back in house.

Private providers would love to cherry pick the profitable work and leave the unprofitable work to the state. This is what happens at the Independent sector treatment sectors run by companies like tax avoiding Care UK (1).

There is no cheaper way to run public sector type organisations (or transport and energy too) than state funded through fair and progressive taxation.

The only profit from health or education/social care etc funding, after reasonable staff salaries (which should not need them to rely on food banks or benefits), should be the healthy well educated person and the healthy well educated population.

NHS spending as % of GDP will be about 6.7% next year (2). The lowest in the developed world and the lowest in the UK since records began in 1955. America spends about 17.5% of GDP with much worse outcomes but that is because so much goes to straight into the private providers pockets (see the 2014 OECD report) (3).

We need the Secretary of State for health to be held to account for his lies about so many things.

Hunt lies about the number of extra doctors he can get and has got so far. GP FTE numbers are down by about 400 last year (4). He also lied about the numbers of nurses - he said this had gone up by 15,000 under his watch but it has actually gone down 15,000 with 10,000 fewer people applying to be nurses due to the abolishment of their vital and fair bursary (5). So things will only get worse and Mid-Staffs will happen again and again (6).

We have the one of the lowest numbers of doctors, nurses and hospital beds, per head of the population in the developed world. (OECD data again). (3)

It is neither fair nor safe for patients or staff.

I would love to be a GP again more permanently and with full time hours - but first we need a government that really values our NHS.


With thanks to Dr Charlotte Ferriday for working with us to format her original email chain into something suitable for a blog.