Today’s news is full of headlines about GPs striking patients off their registers for “daring to complain”. At first thought, this is disgraceful. How very dare they?

In my humble (reluctant) housewife’s opinion most GPs (professionally at least) are a waste of space. In theory, they should be told as much, as much as possible if we are in any hope for them to be “cured” off their god-complex.

One radio report I heard talked to the GMC (General Medical Council) who said that “after all avenues of the complaint procedure had been exhausted the relationship between patient and doctor had obviously broken down and so it was reasonable for them to be part ways”.

So, I got to thinking, how would I change the system? Of course, Im an HR girl at heart and HR peeps turn to employment law in their hours of indecision. So I wondered who was the employer in this relationship. Without any “contract” I decided to “follow the money”. In this relationship, the patient pays the taxes which ultimately ends up with the doctor. Therefore, in simple terms, the patient is the employer and the doctor is the employee. Yes, yes, I know its a lot more complicated than that but lets just ignore all the nitty gritty for now, shall we?

So patient = employer; doctor = employee

Starts to get complicated when you think of it like that doesnt it (no? just me then!)

Consider at work your employee does something you dont like – within the legal rules, you follow your disciplinary procedure. The employee has two choices, change their ways or go and work somewhere else. In these economic climates, we employees have to change our ways to however the employer wants us to act because there are more workers than jobs. But go back a few years and consider when employers were afraid to discipline good workers because they might leave (ie more jobs than workers) and you have an entirely different picture.

So returning to our doctor-patient model: the employer (patient) is afraid to upset the employee (doctor) because they might leave. Oh look – thats whats happening! Patients (employers) struck off for complaining! And we come back to a previous blog “Who’s watching God” where we give the doctors free rein to do whatever they like because they are gods.

So whats the solution? Unfortunately thats where the business analogy starts to lead us into a whole more heap of debates. Its basic supply and demand. Theres too many employers (patients) and not enough employees (doctors). We need more doctors. But its an expensive (financially, timely and intellectually) business making doctors, so we look for alternatives. Putting in mechanisms to shield the expensive doctors from the least efficient work. And oh look we’ve got NHS managers, tri-age nurses and out of hours surgeries. All the things we patients (employers) hate.

But actually, now Ive thought it through, I quite like the idea – keep the talented educated employees out the back doing what they do best (treating the sick) and get some lackies to do the rest of the grunt work.

So maybe we should make it more obvious to employers (patients) what the reasoning behind the process is. Its a simple matter of education – tell the employers why you are retaining their expensive resource from the least efficient tasks – I bet they’ll tell you to carry right on.

Show me the money!

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