Rejoice, now it’s great to be a GP

Don’t despair yet. As the new membership exam approaches, the examiners of the RCGP return from their annual conference, haunted by the image of me in a pink dress, sporting a pink face and playing The Last Waltz on a piano while some of the greatest brains of our times sang in glorious union.

I was, I fear, the one downside in an otherwise glorious celebration of intellect and enthusiasm, for the new exam is now truly born.

With it the spirit of GP-ness, recently ground into the gutter mush of chip-sodden tabloids by an unfriendly press (directed by a hostile government so accustomed to side-stepping its own promises that it can’t cope with a profession that delivers) can rise from the drains to inspire patients and doctors alike.

The new MRCGP lives, born again as our profession’s licensing exam. The GP as a recognised specialist is born at last and our profession will never again be the last refuge of the brain surgeon who failed because he can’t remember where the amygdala is. These days you can’t be a GP unless you know where the amygdala is, and what it does.

We had a challenging conference solving the problems of the NHS in the bar.

But the fact that cheered me the most was that it reminded me that there are so many of us all dealing stoically and pragmatically with the same PCT-led nonsensical adversity. There were GPs from all over the place representing, in a fashion, other GPs, other practices, Deaneries and PCTs.

They were impressive (scarily so in the case of the bloke in the yellow running pants who shot past me one morning), they were also all raring to go on this new, compulsory, excellence-defining test of ours. It all reminded me that this is a great time to be a GP. Don’t let the buggers beat you into the gutter. There’s no space in there anyway; it’s full of politicians.

Dr Selby is a GP in Suffolk.

You can write to her at

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