Secret Diary: December News and Views

Looking at what is in the news now concerning the NHS, it is more of the same...

Yet another Health Minister, and I had no idea who she was until she was appointed. I really feel that the swapping and changing of ministers so often does not allow the continuity needed in such a demanding role.

Love or loath Jeremy Hunt, he was in charge for quite some time. I think he was to the benefit of the NHS, and we knew what he stood for.

With a possible general election in the next year, it could lead to a change of government and policies.

I think the elephant in the room is still that - despite much talk in the past - the NHS is only really a Monday-Friday service. But the rest of life has moved on to a 24-hour culture, and without significant changes (that cost money and commitment), little is likely to alter.

The labour policy, just announced, does tackle to some extent what I am trying to say, with wanting to move to more walk-in centres for minor conditions in local areas, to leave A&E free for the more serious cases.

Now, I am sure many of you are shouting at this article and questioning if I am advocating the labour party’s continuation of care with the same GP, or saying surgeries should be open 7 days a week?

Well yes, I am saying that - but read on to follow my reasoning.

These things are not possible without a whole culture change, and a great deal of money. However, just imagine a larger NHS workforce rotating shifts over the 7-day week and reducing waiting lists, bringing in more tax from an increased workforce, and reducing the need for lengthy for sick pay benefits as patients are treated earlier and hopefully ill for less time, thus helping the economy in other ways.

It was brought home to me this weekend after visiting a sick relative in a large hospital. There were plenty of empty beds, and the staff said very little is done at the weekend, and this was nothing unusual.

So here we have resources lying idle for 48 hours when they are vitally needing to be used.

We need to think differently and work differently, and the NHS must be brought into the 21st century.


With the financial squeeze on practices, being a locum today is not what it once was. Practices are having to cut back on locums and that is evident by the number of emails offering locums, and even some reducing their rates.

Before Covid, advertising for a salaried GP would usually only attract a few applicants. However, having recently advertised a post, there were near forty applicants and even after the closing date we are still getting applications.

So, I do think we need to attract these locums back into full time employment, and this is an opportunity not to be missed. The NHS could do more to use these doctors and it could be a step in the right direction.


I would ask all practices to fight back on all the negative press that we continually get from the tabloid press.

Why not audit your appointment figures? How many face-to-face, how many texts sent for 2019 and then again in 2023? If you are anything like us, shout it out - as you may find the figures very impressive. If we do not support ourselves, who else will?

Of course, if your figures are not good (hopefully not many practices), you may just want to think are you being fair to your patients, and to other surgeries in the country?

We need a voice to shout what we do and be proud of it, rather than being destroyed by the media.

Created by Secret Diarist
Secret Diarist
FPM's Secret Diarist and Anonymous Practice Manager gives us their views throughout the year on the latest developments in primary care, what they think of the powers that be, and any other bugbears they need to get off their chest...


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